The European Commissioner for the Environment has said consideration should be given to re-branding the CAP as a Common Agricultural and Environmental Policy.

Janez Potocnik called for a “very significant and profound greening of the CAP” as he addressed a Forum for the Future of Agriculture session on 16 March.

“Much more environmental integration will be needed if the CAP is to support a broader environmental benefit to society,” he said.

“The European public is increasingly concerned about how we spend the European budget and also about the environment in general; and in particular they also worry about the impact of agriculture on the environment.

“Eurobarometer results show that 1 in 3 Europeans think that promoting respect for environment should be one of the priorities of EU agriculture policy.

“What does this mean? It means that the CAP needs to be able to provide environmental public goods and services.

“We need to put forward the proposals to make this happen and let CAP deliver them to the European public. This means digging deep into the substance of the CAP – we need much more than just green window dressing.”

The speech came only hours before NFU president Peter Kendall addressed a hearing of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

Mr Kendall told MEPs that a strong and common agricultural policy was needed in the EU to reflect the strategic importance of the sector to Europe.

“The NFU has reiterated its support for a CAP to do exactly what it says on the tin; it needs to be common to ensure a level playing field across all sectors and all member states and it needs to focus on helping farmers and growers meet the massive food production and environmental challenges that lie ahead.”

What do you think abou the future direction of the CAP. Do you want to see the CAP become greener? Share your thoughts on the forums.