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On the 23th of November, the European Parliament is set to approve the final deal on the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) agreed on in June 2021. It shouldn’t.

The European Green Deal is supposed to be a blueprint for putting the EU economy on the path towards sustainability and tackle the biodiversity and climate crises. However, this cannot be possible if a third of the EU budget is spent on an outdated and harmful policy like the CAP.

The science is clear: without radically changing how we produce and consume food, we won’t stop the loss of biodiversity, and the climate crisis will worsen, which already constitutes a clear threat to our ability to produce food.

Unfortunately, stuffed with trite greenwashing, this so called “reform” of the CAP does not offer any change. Many scientists and NGOs, including BirdLife, already criticised the European Commission’s 2018 proposal for being too weak and giving too much leeway to Member States. But what came out of negotiations is actually a lot worse.

If approved, this will mean that fake climate accounting will count harmful subsidies as climate action. Massive subsidies will still support methane-and-ammonia-belching intensive livestock. Hardly any effective requirements will be placed on recipients to make space for nature on their farms. Money for environmental schemes in Pillar 1 will be reduced, while schemes will remain just as fake as now, and non-environmental spending will keep being passed as environmental spending in Pillar 2. And the list goes on. On top of that, business as usual will also continue in terms of the unfair distribution of funds among farmers, with the environmental disaster being compounded by a social one.

Worse of all, the European Commission will have much less of a say to dissuade Ministers from handing money over to cronies, supporters, and preferred sectors, further eroding the foundations of democracy and good governance in much of the EU.

The Green Deal communication states “the Commission will work with the Member States and stakeholders to ensure that from the outset the national strategic plans for agriculture fully reflect the ambition of the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy.” However, our first analysis indicates that the new generation of CAP National Strategic Plans will mostly be business as usual rather than drive the transition the planet desperately needs. The governments who fought hard for the new CAP to allow them to keep channeling money to the same old beneficiaries are now, to nobody’s surprise, using this freedom to do exactly that.

The new CAP is a betrayal of European citizens. It will use citizens’ money to destroy their nature, flood their homes, poison their air and water, and make their planet inhabitable. All for the sake of further enriching the few landowners and companies that profit off the system. MEPs should be ashamed to put their names on this legalised heist.

Image credits: ©Ivan Bandura

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Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.