EU decision-makers reject real farming reform

21 October 2020

The European Parliament has voted on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). A majority of MEPs voted against major changes to better protect nature and support small-scale farmers.

The outcomes of the two-days of voting on key parts of the CAP legislation follow a deal between the European Peoples Party, the Socialists and Democrats, and Renew Europe. They are a major blow to the future of farming and would offer no substantial improvement to the current system, leaving small farms across Europe to die-out and nature unprotected, reacted Friends of the Earth Europe.

The campaign group is now calling on MEPs to reject these weak reforms in a final vote scheduled later this week.

Stanka Becheva, food and agriculture campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, reacted:

“The outcomes of these votes would be a huge blow to small farmers and nature all over Europe. The package of reforms as it stands should be rejected when it comes back for another vote later in the week.

“A sizeable minority of MEPs did support resetting Europe’s food and agriculture model to embrace a transition towards a fair and, sustainable food system. Their’s is the right position for the urgent radical reform of the Common Agricultural Policy needed to save small farms and biodiversity, which are both being lost at a terrifying rate.

“This is happening at the same time as a major state of nature report has shown that 81% of the EU’s habitats remain in bad condition, and industrial agriculture is the number one reason for this.” 

Yesterday, EU Agriculture Ministers also agreed their position on the future CAP with a similar outcome, in a further blow to more environmentally-friendly and fairer farming.

The final opinion of the European Parliament on the entire package of CAP legislation is expected to be voted on Friday. It will give the mandate for negotiations with the European Commission and Council to reach a final agreement on the new CAP for the period 2023-2027.

Friends of the Earth Europe has said the Green Deal package, and its component parts including the Common Agricultural Policy, fall short of what is needed to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

From 1-31 October, the Good Food Good Farming Days of Action are taking place across Europe [5]. Events, protests and actions are organised to call for a food and farming system which supports small farmers and rural livelihoods, protects soil, water, ecosystems and biodiversity, and does not contribute to climate change or increased industrial farming, and provides healthy food for all.