The EU's CAP reform: a good compromise?

The EU Parliament has given the green light for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). After years of dispute, a large majority voted in favour of a compromise between the 27 member states and the Commission. Among other things, the reform stipulates that in the case of direct subsidies a quarter of the funding will be tied to sustainability criteria. For some the reform doesn't go far enough, while others find it unfair.

Open/close all quotes (DE) /

A flop that won't help a crop

The reform is a far cry from what the future calls for, is sure:

“Yes, farmers can produce more sustainably in future, but they don't have to. And most of the almost 400 billion in funding from Brussels will still be distributed according to the size principle: those who have more will get more. As such, the reform continues to promote mass over quality. Of course the member states can set stricter organic standards for their farmers, but that too is non-binding. And all the states will be concerned that too many environmental rules will put their own farmers at a disadvantage in international competition. ... This European agricultural reform is a missed opportunity, a flop that will help neither the air nor the climate.”

Le Vif / L'Express (BE) /

Farming with nature, not against it

Four Green MEPs, Saskia Bricmont, Philippe Lamberts, Benoît Biteau and Tilly Metz, also see the reform as too timid. They argue in Le Vif/L'Express:

“We know that it is our historical and political responsibility to make Europe a nurturing home capable of meeting the climatic and social challenges of the next decades. ... It is therefore time that the European Green Deal stopped being an obstacle for farmers, because the solution lies precisely in uniting farmers and ecosystems. ... For this reason we support the initiative De la Ferme à la Fourchette, which advocates fair payment for farmers and the protection of biodiversity.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Hard times for farmers

De Telegraaf points to the uncertainty for farmers:

“The exact terms of the environmental provisions are not yet known, but what is clear is that there will be less income support. For farmers, this is the umpteenth intervention in a short time. The sector is still struggling with the directive on nitrate emissions and the draconian rules on nitrogen emissions near protected nature reserves, and on top of that there are the unknown repercussions of the Green Deal Europe is planning to introduce. These are all interventions that hit the agricultural sector hard, and now there's this financial intervention by the EU. The farmers' distrust is understandable.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Too cautious for some, too radical for others

Les Echos examines the resistance the compromise solution had to overcome:

“The FNSEA has already warned that the new CAP, which is now 'green', is very demanding. Its procedures are complex and will require significant efforts from farmers at a time when international competition is increasingly strong. Yet many of our farmers are already having great difficulty making a living. ... But for the environmental associations the criteria for allocating the green parts of the funding are still too timid. And the 'High Environmental Value' certification is not very relevant.”