While several European farm ministers are using the war in Ukraine as a pretext to push for a hurried approval of their Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plans, a new report from Friends of the Earth Europe shows that these national plans fall far short of the environmental commitments made by the EU.
A close analysis of CAP Strategic Plans in seven countries (Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Malta, Poland, Spain and Sweden) reveals that none of the plans will make any significant contribution to meeting the Green Deal targets and objectives of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
Action is particularly lacking on pesticides and fertiliser reduction, and support to small-scale farmers and fair working conditions for farm workers are barely mentioned in the Plans assessed. While some measures are sometimes proposed, too little information is available to assess their effectiveness.
In the countries analysed, the only objectives that are likely to be met or almost met are the targets for organic agriculture in Austria, reduction of nutrient losses in Poland, and the increase in high biodiversity landscape features in Malta. But even these mostly reflect existing trends rather than contributions that could be attributed to the CAP.
Clara Bourgin, Food, Agriculture and Nature Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“For 60 years, the CAP has given out subsidies based on how large fields are, without taking into account the environment, working conditions or the quality of food. Member States have the opportunity to do better with their Strategic Plans and use the CAP budget to finally support farmers’ transition towards more sustainable practices. Otherwise the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies’ goals will remain empty promises”.
Friends of the Earth Europe urges the European Commission to hold Member States accountable for proposing more ambitious interventions to deliver on the needs for climate, environment and small-scale farmers in their countries.
Back in April, the Commission sent observations letters to the countries who submitted the Plans on time, and Member States are now in the process of revising them. The plans will then still have to be approved by the Commission.