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Press Release: European Parliament’s reckless vote pushes farmers further into the abyss by scrapping CAP’s green architecture

Moments ago, Members of the European Parliament voted to strip away the already weak environmental measures from the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). With a shocking 425 votes in favour and 130 votes against, the Parliament has agreed to weaken the Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs). The GAECs are meant to safeguard biodiversity and soil health – both crucial for food production and the livelihoods of farmers.

This outcome follows yesterday’s vote on GAEC 1, where the Parliament voted to allow valuable grasslands, crucial for climate regulation and water retention, to be ploughed up more easily. In addition to negatively affecting farmers, the results of these votes are also a significant setback in the European Union’s efforts to promote sustainable agriculture and combat climate change.

Within just one month, the entire process, from the Commission’s proposal of the simplification package in March, to the vote in the Parliament today, has been completed. Breaking from the usual process, this emergency voting procedure skipped stakeholders’ consultations or impact assessments.  

This move, orchestrated by right and far-right parties and supported by the majority of the Renew and Socialist & Democrat groups, exploits ongoing farmer protests to advance narrow political agendas. Most importantly, it fails to address the real issue: the disproportionate distribution of CAP subsidies, with 80% going to the wealthiest 20% of farmers.

The European Commission’s vague insistence on ‘political urgency’ to justify deviating from democratic rules is extremely concerning. It undermines the integrity of the decision-making process, and disregards over 3.5 years of collaborative stakeholder effort on these legislative files.

By dismantling environmental safeguards and catering to the interests of a select few, today’s decision makes a mockery of the nature and climate crises, undermines democratic processes, and betrays the trust citizens place in them.

The European Council has already expressed support for this legislative proposal and is likely to officially endorse it before the European Elections in June.

Marilda Dhaskali, EU Agriculture Officer at BirdLife Europe:

Today, the European Parliament paved the way for anti-democratic, anti-environmental, and above all, anti-farmers legislation, yielding to a powerful agri-business lobby that serves only a few. Food security, the future of farmers, and citizens were sacrificed for the sake of short-term profits and political calculations. Farmers cannot produce food without thriving nature, and profit cannot be made when crops are lost in floods, droughts, or fires aggravated by climate change.”


Cover photo by Greens and Blues/Shutterstock

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