Toxic footnote damages nature conservation before CAP vote

The recent agreement on the CAP by the three largest political groups in the European Parliament does not bode well for nature conservation. The gradually revealed details of this compromise paper now show how much a more sustainable agricultural policy is coming under fire as a result of it. 

A particularly scandalous example shows how a footnote attempts to extend the failed greening rules at the expense of protecting biodiversity in the agricultural landscape. Actually, the EU Commission had proposed that in future farmers would have to set aside a certain percentage of their land for non-productive elements such as hedgerows and fallow. This would be a significant improvement over the current greening system, under which elements that are less efficient for nature conservation, such as catch crops, are implemented. However, the EU Commission had left open how high this percentage should be. According to scientific studies, it should actually be at least 10% to have a significant effect on biodiversity. The EU Commission had adopted this figure in its most recent biodiversity strategy.

However, the compromise now agreed upon by the EPP (CDU/CSU), S&D (SPD) and Renew (FDP and Free Voters) provides for limiting the area to 5% and this only on arable land. Grassland and permanent crops (e.g. olive groves and vineyards) would be completely excluded, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Worse, through a footnote, the rules of failed greening are to be given a revival. Instead of effective options like hedgerows or fallow land, catch crops, legumes, etc. would be allowed again. The rules for "Space for Nature" would thus be exactly the same as today, despite the dramatic situation of biodiversity in the agricultural landscape.

The last word has not yet been spoken. By means of so-called "split votes" and competing amendments, MEPs can remove this footnote in the plenary vote next week or even adopt an ambitious regulation. However, this would require the political will of the Socialists and the progressive parts of Renew and the EPP to break away from the rotten deal at least on this point. But you can still take action and send a message to your MEPs via werdelaut.de by next week.

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