“Not me – I’m exempt”.
It has often been said that the Treaty of Paris of 1951 was designed to take care of German industry and French farmers – and the latter have seen their interests protected since then by the Common Agricultural Policy, the CAP.
Over the years since then, scientists and environmental NGOs, including LIPU, have been warning that intensive farming practices are destroying habitats, changing ecosystems and causing large declines in wildlife numbers; and these policies are applied to the spending of €360 billion which is almost 40% of the EU budget.
The EU response, in December 2013, was to state that the environment and climate change would be core issues in the revised CAP. It would mean that 30% of direct payments to farmers would be conditional on three “greening” measures.
That these promises to “green” the policy have not been met is the conclusion of a paper, “EU agricultural reform fails on Biodiversity” published in Science. The authors reveal that the measures introduced are accompanied by conditions which will exempt over 88% of farmers in the EU and over 48% of agricultural land.
BirdLife’s Head of EU Policy, Ariel Brunner, who worked for LIPU before moving to Brussels, said, “We now have scientific evidence stating that the “new” rules are almost as bad as the old ones and are dramatically inadequate to save nature. What now? We can only hope that Commissioner Cioloş and his successor will not ignore the new evidence. On our side, we’ll keep campaigning for a review of the new CAP and, at national level, for governments to use the flexibility they’re given to stop the destruction of farmland ecosystems.”
We wish the BirdLife advocates well in their task.
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