Bas Eickhout (GroenLinks) calls new EU agriculture a 'missed opportunity'

MEP Bas Eickhout (GroenLinks) calls the new European agricultural agreement a missed opportunity for a sustainable climate policy and for a healthy agricultural industry in the future. The new CAP (2021-2027) will be adopted in Strasbourg next Tuesday.

Eickhout believes that the Green Deal environmental goals and the F2F food strategy have been included in the new CAP so minimally and without obligation that too little will come of it in most EU countries. Moreover, according to the Greens, so many tasks, supervision and powers are assigned to national and regional governments that it is difficult to make timely adjustments.

In an interview with the agricultural LTO weekly Nieuwe Oogst, Eickhout says that the Netherlands and the LTO have invested too much in flexibility per country and low standards in the EU. “There will soon be a race-to-the-bottom in the 27 EU countries. In many countries the bar will be set as low as possible'.

'We have known for years that a lot will have to change in agriculture. Remkes already said that everything is no longer possible. It is precisely a modern and well-organized agricultural country such as the Netherlands that would have an interest in a more compelling future-oriented European agricultural policy. Nothing will come of this with this non-binding cap”, says Eickhout.

Not only the Greens, but also environmental organizations such as Greenpeace and the climate youth of Greta Thunberg find the CAP compromise far too meager and unacceptable. They believe that agriculture should stop using chemical weed killers and growth promoters.

“In 2019, European voters voted for climate-friendly, green change. Ursula von der Leyen and her commissioners then spoke big words about a European Green Deal. But now they are simply agreeing to a totally outdated European agricultural policy. The EU still supports industrial-scale intensive livestock farming. It will still encourage farmers to use synthetic pesticides," according to the GroenLinkser.

The Dutch MEP Anja Hazekamp (Party for the Animals) will table an amendment during the vote on Tuesday to get the new CAP, good for around 270 billion in European agricultural subsidies, off the table.

In the coming years, approximately 54 billion euros of EU tax money will be spent annually on agricultural subsidies. Intensive agriculture and livestock farming in particular benefit from this. According to her, this leads directly to biodiversity loss, water and air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and unacceptable damage to animal welfare.

Mega stables and large-scale arable farming, where a lot of fertilizer and. Even the condition to stop specific subsidies for the breeding of fighting bulls – a requirement that the European Parliament made following an amendment by the Party for the Animals and GroenLinks – has been removed from the agreement by the EU member states. Countries would still be allowed to subsidize bullfights with EU money as a result.

“A transition to a fair, healthy, animal and environmentally friendly food system is essential to tackle the global climate and biodiversity crisis. Agricultural policy must be aimed at actually getting that transition in motion. The current agricultural policy undermines ambitions in the areas of nature, the environment, climate and animal welfare. There are too many loopholes in this law; subsidizing harmful activities will continue if this agricultural policy is adopted,” says Hazekamp