BirdLife Europe & Central Asia Press Release - 7 November 2018

Wake up and smell the manure! 
European Court of Auditors tear flawed CAP proposal apart 

Today, the European Court of Auditors (CoA) — the body that oversees the quality of how EU taxpayer money is spent — released their ‘Opinion’ on the European Commission’s current CAP proposal. The damning report echoes the concern and frustration long voiced by civil society and the scientific community. The CoA calls it as they see it, and state that the current CAP proposal “does not reflect a clear increase in environmental and climate ambition”. They also slam the Commission’s approach to direct payments, saying it has “insufficient justification”.

As it stands, 60 billion euros of EU taxpayer monies 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.

The CoA report states that “while the case for EU environmental and climate change-related actions is strong, the data and the arguments used to support the needs assessment for farmers’ income [direct payments] are insufficient.”  

The CoA analysis echoes what the scientific community and NGOs have been saying for years on how 40% of the EU’s total budget is spent. Last year, a group of 22 scientists published an analysis of the Commission’s Communication for the next CAP, and highlighted the same issues as the Auditors, including noting the “insufficient justification for the exact role of Direct Payments”, and criticising the vague objectives, lack of effective control, and lack of attention paid to environmental payments that deliver more value for taxpayer money.

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe:

“The Court of Auditors, once again, shine a harsh light on a CAP that is broken beyond repair. But what is truly shocking is that on each of the points they criticize, Europe’s Agricultural Ministers and the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee are busy making things even worse. Every analysis points to the same findings, but the political system is a total hostage to the intensive farm lobby. And they are committed to leading us towards ecological catastrophe and transforming the CAP into a pure slush fund for agricultural ministers.”


For more information, please contact:
Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe
+32 (0)4 8663 0042



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 totaling 320,000 hectares.