European Parliament genuflects before EU agriculture ministers

After more than a dozen rounds of negotiations, representatives of the European Parliament, the EU Commission and the Portuguese Council Presidency agreed on the European framework for the future EU agricultural policy on 25 June 2021. 

What was decided?

With regard to the future eco-regulations, the decision is very close to the Council's position of October 2020, with the exception of the total budget, which is to be 25% of Pillar 1. The Member States are given wide-ranging options for implementation, so that the actual expenditure can be 20% or even significantly less, especially in the first years. This is far from the 30% without exceptions originally demanded by the Parliament and also exceeds the red lines drawn by the negotiators in the failed Jumbo Trilogue in May.

The Council was also largely able to get its way on conditionality. According to the negotiation text, there is now a massive watering down of the mandatory requirements for crop rotation, so that in future the reality will probably be very close to the failed greening. Progress would have been necessary here, however, especially for the feasibility of the pesticide reduction targets (e.g. within the framework of the Green Deal). The target for a 10% share of non-productive land in the agricultural landscape, which is necessary according to science, is receding into the distant future. In future, a maximum of 3-4% should really be mandatory. The gap would then have to be closed with the help of the organic schemes. However, in view of the low budget of the latter, this may be difficult or even impossible.

Green Deal adé?

Both the Parliament and the EU Commission failed miserably in their attempts to establish the Green Deal as the guard rail for the future CAP. The Council did not want to play along and above all prevent the EU Commission from using the targets from the Farm-to-Fork and the Biodiversity Strategy as benchmarks for the national strategy plans. In the end, both the Parliament and the EU Commission buckled. In future, the EU Commission may only report on the extent to which the Green Deal and the CAP fit together. However, the member states are not likely to face any real consequences.

The notorious "Rio markers" from the original Commission proposal of 2018 were also adopted. 40% of direct payments are to count as climate protection in future, contrary to any scientific evidence. Shortly before the end of the programming period, after 2025, the EU Commission is allowed to develop a new methodology, far too late for real changes in the field. This not only ignores the report of the EU auditors, which found last Monday that the previous CAP was ineffective in climate protection. At the same time, the current efforts of the EU Commission to restructure its so-called "tracking" of climate protection investments in the EU budget are being thwarted.

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