As Europe began its so-called Green Week, farm ministers and the European Parliament agreed to channel hundreds of billions of taxpayer money to intensive farming. The response of Greta Thunberg: “This is not how democracy is suppose to work”. Jack Hunter explains.

The EU has voted through hundreds of billions of Euros in public subsidies for intensive agriculture.

Overnight, agriculture ministers in Luxembourg and the European Parliament in Brussels agreed that at least two thirds of the EU’s farm policy (CAP) will go to farmers with little or no environmental conditions and tens of billions in public funds will go to the largest one percent of landowners.

“Today is a dark day for the environment, for long-term sensible farming and, frankly, the future of our species. Farming is one of the greatest forces trashing the planet. We are feeling that heat, and yet the EU just voted to pour flames on the fire. The CAP should be a major force for good, but is being powerfully misdirected. Whatever transition to ecological farming was promised in the EU Green Deal is now on hold.”

Dr Bérénice Dupeux, Senior Agriculture Policy Officer, EEB

On Monday, a report for the European Environment Agency found Europe’s nature in “serious, continuing decline,” with farming “the most common pressure.”

What our leaders decided

After an undemocratic and dramatic twist in the Parliamentary agenda, a large majority of MEPs voted for what the EEB dubbed a “stinking deal”.

Ministers agreed that 20% of income support payments to farmers should go through the flagship environmental element of the CAP, called ‘Eco-Schemes’. EP agreed on 30% figures. But both institutions introduced potentially contradictory economic goals, likely to gain the lion’s share of funding and make a mockery of the fund’s name. NGOs suggested 50 percent with strict environmental goals.

Ministers and Parliament both weakened conditions for CAP payments. This could, for example, mean farmers are paid to destroy wetlands wildlife havens into farmland, unleashing climate emissions.

“Europe has talked tough on climate and made a big deal of its Green Deal. These two goals will go nowhere without a transformative EU farm policy. We are now calling on the European Commission to withdraw this disastrous CAP and retable something substantially better.”

Célia Nyssens, Agriculture Policy Officer, EEB

For more information on how the CAP can work for people and nature, read our policy briefings:

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