Greens: Ciolos ‘watered down CAP plans’

Plans to reform the Common Agricultural policy have been severely watered down to meet the demands of ‘change-resistant’ member states, according to the Greens.

France MEP José Bové, Green co-chairman of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, said the planned reform had been gutted to suit farming lobbyists.

“While earlier drafts were not revolutionary, at least they pointed in the right direction,” he said.

“Today’s 912 October) proposals have been stripped of all ambition and as such, will fail to provide the basis to properly reform the CAP and ensure it is a tool to promote sustainable agriculture and fair incomes for farmers.

“What is left has been tailored to the demands of the agro-industry lobby at the behest of their cheerleaders in the Council, like German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Sarkozy and in the European Parliament, like chair of the EP agriculture committee Paolo di Castro.”

Green agriculture spokesperson Martin Häusling MEP said the proposals failed to meet the reform’s goals of distributing funding more fairly and supporting smaller farms.

“The threshold beyond which direct payments should be ‘degressive’, is set far too high, benefiting large farmers and the agro-industrial complexes,” he added.

“We need stronger concrete measures to promote sustainable farming systems.

“While the Commission wanted to go in the right direction and its proposals on ‘ecological focus areas’ are an important step forward, much of the other ‘greening’ proposals, such as on crop rotation, have been seriously watered down due to heavy lobbying.

“Sustainable farming and food systems are crucial for tackling the challenges agriculture is now confronted with, like climate change, loss of biodiversity and water- and soil protection.

“Reform without greening has no meaning – and those seeking to make this reform meaningless are misrepresenting their constituents by bowing to the interests of the few not the needs of the many.”

Herr Hausling said rural development measures, including earmarking specific sipport for agro-environment measures, was a mistake.

“There is no guarantee that member states will disburse these funds in a manner that is consistent with the overall goals of the reform.”

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