Europe and Central Asia

BirdLife Europe & Central Asia Press Release - 6 March 2018

Agri Council Fact Check: Leaked CAP conclusions based on environmental fiction


The draft Agri Council Conclusions on the post-2020 CAP – leaked this morning – are based entirely on factually untrue statements about the environment.

Scientific evidence is conspicuously absent from the basis for agriculture ministers’ plans for the next CAP. In utter denial over the environmental crisis on Europe’s farmlands, the Council wrongly claims the Common Agricultural Policy is already delivering on the environment and climate. This could not be further from the truth.

The recent evaluation of the CAP’s socio-economic and environmental performance highlighted massive inefficiencies in how the CAP money is spent. 80% of direct payments—go to the richest 20% of beneficiaries, leaving many sustainable farmers out in the cold. The evaluation also found that the most generous environmental payments go to the least effective environmental measures. Conversely, the most effective environmental measure receive the least amount of money. The European Court of Auditors also concluded that the money going to environmental payments in Pillar I (‘greening’) was simply ‘a more complex income support scheme, not yet environmentally effective’.

In stark contrast to this reality, the draft Council Conclusions state that Direct Payments are already ‘rewarding farmers for the provision of public goods and services’. If farmers are to ‘deliver further public goods in addition to those they already provide, they should be adequately rewarded’.

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of EU Policy, BirdLife Europe:This draft is a Surrealist Manifesto: Agriculture ministers might as well conclude that the sky is green and the sea is dry. Unless we radically transform the CAP to stop subsidising unsustainable practices and start funding a transition to sustainable agriculture in Europe, it will be a disaster for not only the environment but also farmers themselves. If agriculture ministers approve this fiction on 19 March, it will remove the last shred of justification for CAP’s massive budget allocation.


For further information, please contact:
Harriet Bradley, EU Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer
BirdLife Europe & Central Asia 
+ 32 478 88 73 02

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of EU Policy
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia
+32 491 90 46 53



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