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CAP Reform: Radical Transformation Needed!

On Friday 1st June, European Commissioner Phil Hogan presented the plans of the European Commission to reform the EU Common Agricultural Policy. With its proposal, the European Commission is failing to address the main challenges that agriculture is facing. The proposed reform won’t allow the radical transformation of EU Agricultural System that is needed for making agriculture serve the climate and the environment.

“We need to completely rethink the Common Agricultural Policy to make it more than a heavy administrative machinery to distribute subsidies. The CAP can be a powerful tool to shift our agricultural systems towards more sustainable ones. Effectively, we can make agriculture fight climate change. We are very concerned that the Commission Proposal does not reflect any such ambition,” says Antoine Tifine from FYEG Executive Committee.

Last year, a record-breaking number of 63 000 European citizens and organisations took part to in the consultation of the European Commission on the Future of CAP and the vast majority of them urged the Commission to make EU agriculture more sustainable. The proposal shows that the Commission just didn’t listen to them.

For example, the draft reform plans to cut CAP budget by 25% in the area of rural development.  This so-called second pillar of CAP is usually used to support positive steps towards a more sustainable agricultural system, for example by supporting farmers transitioning towards organic agriculture. Cutting this pillar so drastically and deleting measures specifically targeting organic agriculture is extremely worrying.

Additionally, the Commission wants to give more flexibility to EU member states into deciding how they want to distribute CAP subsidies. This re-nationalisation of CAP might result in a fiercer competition between EU member states, leading to even more social and environmental dumping.

FYEG believes that the Common Agricultural Policy objective should be to make sure that farmers can earn a decent income, that good and healthy food is provided to all Europeans, and that agricultural practices support the fight against climate change and the drop of biodiversity.

Among others, FYEG proposes to reintroduce market regulation and productions regulation mechanisms such as quotas and common market organisation tools to ensure fair prices. We think subsidies should be used to support the transition towards agroecology, organic agriculture, holistic management and permaculture and support the installation of new farmers, rather than to maintain artificially-low prices of food. We defend a fairer and more virtuous distribution of public support focused on small and virtuous farms instead of the agro-industry.

Learn more on our position on agriculture by reading the resolution Reinventing Our Agricultural Policies, adopted by FYEG General Assembly in 2017.