The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy needs a drastic reform

06 February.2017

On 2th of February the European Commission launched its long-awaited public consultation on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is calling for a sustainable food and farming system. 

Currently around 35% of the entire EU budget goes to the CAP.The current CAP is undermining the environment, public health and sustainable development while failing to halt the collapse in the number of EU farmers. A reformed CAP must work coherently with all other policies, especially environmental ones, to ensure a viable future for farmers, citizens and nature.

The CAP remains an environmentally damaging policy that contributes to climate change, biodiversity loss, soil erosion and water pollution. Farmland birds are now the most threatened bird group in Europe having declined by almost 50% in the last 30 years. Previous attempt at “greening” the CAP are failing both the environment and biodiversity.

In its current form the CAP is equipped neither to address the unprofitability of small-scale farming, nor to meet the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss. On the contrary, while not offering sufficient incentives for environmentally sound land use it promotes increasingly intensive use of agricultural land.

NABU has commissioned a study carried out by agroeconomists and agroecologists who developed a new model for agricultural payments that would meet the needs of both sustainably operating farmers and nature conservation. The new model is based on much higher payments to those farmers who manage their land in a sustainable way and who implement specific measures for biodiversity. Holdings that choose only to meet the basic legal requirements would no longer receive public money. Such a reform could make the CAP not only more compatible with the EU’s environmental objectives but also far fairer towards farmers and taxpayers.

The LIFE project "Land for Life" performs activities for restoration and improvement of pastures and meadows that are hunting territory of the species in key Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria. Protection of biodiversity and traditional methods of grazing domestic animals are compatible and are of benefit both farmers and the environment.

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