NGOs Request Transparency on CAP Dialogues
Updated: Dec 16, 2020
As discussions for the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) continue, NGOs ask current parties involved in dialogue to improve transparency. The CAP takes a large portion of the European Union Budget, providing 58 billion euros in support for farmers only in 2018. It has a direct impact on the development and form of our agricultural production, and it has short and long-term effects on landscapes and the overall environment. The final decisions on the future CAP are a matter of public interest, and civil society requires from authorities a more open and transparent process. The European Parliament, Commission, and Council should be actively engaged in making the current 'trilogues' more transparent.
Non-Governmental Organisations have joined together to request the three parties involved in current negotiations to take on such efforts of transparency. The open letter is available below.
Norbert Lins, Chair of the Committee of Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament
Pascal Canfin, Chair of the Committee of Environment of the European Parliament
Julia Klöckner, Minister of Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Germany
Maria do Céu Antunes, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Portugal
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission,
Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development
Cc: Peter Jahr, Ulrike Müller, Eric Andrieu, Christophe Hansen, Rapporteurs for the CAP
Brussels, 30 November 2020
Dear Members of the European Parliament,
Dear Executive Vice-President of the European Commission,
Subject: Transparency of CAP Trilogues process
We are writing to you as NGOs to request that the CAP trilogue process be made as transparent and open as possible. The CAP is of critical importance to the success of the European Green Deal, including the ‘Farm to Fork’ and Biodiversity Strategies. Given its volume of 387 billion € of EU taxpayers’ money until 2027, it is a matter of significant public interest, therefore extended transparency of the decision-making process should be the norm for all discussions on these files.
Trilogues form a regular part of the EU decision making process and are applied to 70-80% of EU legislative procedures. Yet the level of transparency normally falls significantly behind that of other proceedings in the EU Institutions, especially in the European Parliament. Such a lack of transparency in trilogue negotiations has repeatedly been a point of discussions, subject to investigation by the EU Ombudsman and rulings by the European Court of Justice.
In 2016, the EU Ombudsman called upon the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council to improve the transparency of trilogue negotiations, by publishing key documents such as the agendas and minutes of meetings. Despite promises by the legislators to improve the access to documents, especially to the so-called “4-column” document, information on the ongoing negotiations on the three CAP files is not accessible to the general public.
European citizens’ right to participate in EU policy-making processes is enshrined in Article 10(3) of the Treaty of the European Union, which also requires decisions to be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizens. Transparency in trilogue proceedings is an essential requirement for citizens’ ability to exercise their democratic rights, as confirmed by the General Court in case T-540/15 De Capitani v Parliament: “If citizens are to be able to exercise their democratic rights they must be in a position to follow in detail the decision-making process within the institutions taking part in the legislative procedures and to have access to all relevant information.”
The CAP is of critical importance for Europe’s success in addressing multiple issues of public interest, from the climate and biodiversity crises, to public health and animal welfare concerns. It is therefore essential that European citizens are able to follow and engage with decision-making processes, including the ongoing trilogue meetings on the three CAP files between your institutions. That is why we call on you to systematically and in a timely manner publish the calendar and agendas of upcoming meetings, and after each political trilogue meeting, the minutes of the meeting and the latest version of the 4-column documents.
We are looking forward to your timely response and remain available for any inquiries you might have.
Katarina Jurikova, Coordinator, Agro ekoforum
Francesco Panella, President, BeeLife
Ariel Brunner, Acting Director, BirdLife Europe&Central Asia
Anais Berthier, Head of EU Affairs, ClientEarth
Olga Kikou, Head of EU office, Compassion in World Farming
Martin Pigeon, Researcher and campaigner, Corporate Europe Observatory
Stefania Petrosillo, Policy Officer, EUROPARC Federation
Jeremy Wates, Secretary General, European Environmental Bureau
Nikolai Pushkarev, Policy Coordinator on Food Systems, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
Tilmann Disselhoff, President, Eurosite
Pierre Sultana, Director European Policy Office, FOUR PAWS
Jagoda Munić, Director, Friends of the Earth Europe
Jorgo Riss, Director, Greenpeace European Unit
Eduardo Cuoco, Director, IFOAM Organics Europe
Shefali Sharma, Director, European Office, Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy
Agnieszka Makowska, Coalition Coordinator, Living Earth Coalition, Poland
Mathieu Wittmann, Coordinator, Meng Landwirtschaft
Saskia Richartz, Head of Campaign, Meine Landwirtschaft | Wir haben es satt!
Fernando Vinegla, Coordinator, Por Otra PAC
Marta Messa, Director, Slow Food Europe
Joost de Jong, Transitiecoalitie Voedsel
Nicholas Aiossa, Deputy Director, Transparency International EU
Yurena Lorenzo, Head of Office & Programme Manager, Wetlands International Europe
Ester Asin, Director, WWF - European Policy Office