CAP decisions will make Green Deal goals impossible
The European Parliament has today voted on the new
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), in what Friends of the Earth Europe called a 'historically
bad week for the future of farming'.
A majority of MEPs voted against substantial improvements to the current
harmful system, burying any hope of real reform of the 400 billion Euro funds
to make them fairer to farmers or better for nature. 
Earlier in the week, Agriculture Ministers from the 27
EU countries also backed away from even moderate green goals, in favour of agriculture-as-usual. 
The outcomes are a major blow for the environment and
farmers and will make reaching the goals set in the European Green Deal
impossible, reacted Friends of the Earth Europe.
Stanka Becheva, food and agriculture campaigner at
Friends of the Earth Europe,
"This is a historically bad week for the future
of farming. The decisions taken by parliamentarians and Ministers will put even
more farms out of business and mean the EU can forget about fulfilling its
Green Deal objectives.
"Millions of farms in Europe have already
disappeared, and nature – without which food production is not possible – is in
grave danger. We've got here as the result of the wrong policies and warped
farming subsidies which mainly benefit a few industrial-scale factory farms.
Now this failing system looks set to continue, spelling disaster for the
environment and small farmers."
Research published by Friends of the Earth Europe
shows the CAP has contributed to the expansion of industrial farming methods
and factory farms across Europe, and between 2005 and 2016 contributed to one
in three small scale animal farms going out of business.  Industrial farming
has contributed to the decline of 41% of insect species, one-third of which are
threatened with extinction. 75% of our most important food crops depend on
pollination by insects. 
As part of its Green Deal plans, the European
Commission has adopted targets to dedicate 25% of agricultural land to organic
farmimg, to reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 50%, and to give priority
to biodiversity on 10% of agricultual areas, by 2030. 
The lack of real reform of the CAP, which will now
continue to distribute the majority of subsidies as untargeted direct payments
per hectare, with weak environmental conditions, moves these goals out of
The Parliament and member states will now enter
negotiations with the European Commission to reach a final agreement on the new
CAP in 2021.
From 1-31 October, the Good Food Good Farming Days of
Action are taking place across Europe . 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.
 Some key element of the agreement:
60% of subsidies to be
given as untargeted direct payments, majority of which are per hectare payments
with weak environmental conditions
Weakening of the basic
environmental conditions for farmers who receive direct payments, e.g.
protection of peatlands, grassland protection
30% of direct payments
ring-fenced for eco-schemes, but enlargement of the scope of those to
contribute also to economic objectives
35% of rural
development to contribute to climate and environmental objectives, however
inclusion in this support for things which don't contribute to any
environmental objectives (support for areas with natural constraints)
No link between the CAP
and the objectives of the European Green Deal
 Some key elements of the Council position:
Only 20% of the
payments to go to eco-schemes under the first pillar; rural development funding
for the environment could contribute to this target and the scope includes
employment and growth objectives
Watering down of
conditionality by deleting a number of tools proposed by the Commission e.g.
nutrients management tool & minimum share of land for nature of 5% (catch
crops or nitrogen fixing crops)
30% of rural
development budget to contribute to environmental and climate objectives,
though support for areas with natural or other specific constraints will count
towards this target
Capping of payments for
single recipients of subsidies should be voluntary for member states.