Member states seek to change CAP green requirements
European Union member states want to greatly increase the number of ‘greening’ measures in the European Commission’s proposal to revise the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
A working paper, which is being presented to member states today (30 April) and seen by European Voice, suggests that EU states should be able to choose from nine possible greening measures. It also says that entire sections of agriculture deemed to be ‘green by definition’ should be exempt from meeting the CAP’s environmental requirements.
The Commission wants to make almost one-third of CAP direct payments conditional on three specific environmental criteria: setting aside 7% of arable land for bio-diversity purposes; increasing crop diversity to at least three crops per farm; and creating permanent pastures.
The working paper envisages broadening that list. The paper was drafted by officials from Luxembourg but the ideas are believed to have come from the German agriculture ministry, according to an official involved in the discussions.
Ariel Brunner of campaign group BirdLife said the plan would create loopholes that would allow member states to avoid the greening requirements.
“This dirty deal being cooked behind closed doors flies in the face of all EU commitments on biodiversity and climate change” he said. “If such a deal goes through it would signal the end of any legitimacy of EU direct payments to farmers.”
Speaking to the press after a meeting of agriculture ministers last week (26 April), Dacian Cioloş, the European commissioner for agriculture, indicated that he could accept a broadening of the list of greening measures. But he said the Commission could only accept such a move if the requirements remained part of the policy’s main pillar, rather than being moved to its secondary pillar, which deals with rural development.