30 changes will make the CAP better for the environment

New study outlines where the Common Agriculture Policy has got it all wrong

Today, the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) released a study which analyses the current CAP proposal for 2021 – 2027. The report echoes what civil society, scientists and the European Court of Auditors have been saying for years: this CAP proposal is a recipe for environmental disaster. The report was launched today at an event held by BirdLife Europe, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and NABU; “How a bill becomes a better CAP”.

The study presents evidence illustrating how “efforts to date to green the CAP have not been sufficient to outweigh the damage being done to biodiversity, water quality, soils and air quality”. It identifies 30 changes or clarifications to legislative proposals which could result in a greener CAP. The report concludes that the CAP proposals must be revised to present a “genuine performance-based approach”, and holds Member States accountable for meeting objectives. Without strong accountability there is a real risk that Member States will opt for the easy option of continuing the status quo.

This report comes in the same month as the European Court of Auditors released their damning report on the current CAP proposal, saying it “does not reflect a clear increase in environmental and climate ambition”.

As it stands, 60 billion euros of EU taxpayers are spent every year on CAP subsidies that mostly fund intensive and factory farming. The intensive agriculture model it promotes directly leads to biodiversity loss, water and air pollution, over-extraction of water and contributes to climate change.

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe:
“Yesterday the European Court of Auditors tabled a terrible indictment of a broken CAP proposal but was shockingly brushed aside by the European Parliament Agriculture committee who is clearly a captive of the intensive farm lobby. Today, the IEEP is putting forward very detailed and reasonable proposals that could help farmers and the environment and limit the scope for corporate exploitation. But are politicians listening?”

Kaley Hart, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP):
“The status quo is no longer an option. IEEP has identified 30 actions to increase the environmental and climate performance of the CAP, something that was identified as a priority when the legislative proposals were launched in June. These are intended as a positive contribution to the debates on the future CAP as the legislative proposals move through the negotiation process and we hope that the co legislators will consider them when adopting their positions.”


For more information, please contact:

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe
+32 (0)4 8663 0042


  • The Institute for European Environmental Policy’s report was funded by NABU (BirdLife Germany. “CAP 2021-27: Proposals for increasing its environmental and climate ambition” is available here.

BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is a partnership of 48 national conservation organisations and a leader in bird conservation. Our unique local to global approach enables us to deliver high impact and long term conservation for the benefit of nature and people. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is one of the six regional secretariats that compose BirdLife International. Based in Brussels, it supports the European and Central Asian Partnership and is present in 47 countries including all EU Member States. With more than 4100 staff in Europe, two million members and tens of thousands of skilled volunteers, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, together with its national partners, owns or manages more than 6000 nature sites totalling 320,000 hectares.