The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament (COM AGRI) is preparing to vote next Tuesday 2nd of April on the Strategic Plan's Proposals of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP is an essential policy in the EU, taking around 40% of the total budget . It directly shapes our agricultural system, as well as our impact on the environment. Therefore, current negotiations and decisions are of great interest not only to farmers but to all citizens, particularly considering that food security and sustainability are vital factors which this policy influences. In a joint effort, three NGOs working for a more sustainable agricultural system are providing Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voting recommendations to ensure we get the best possible reform of the CAP.
Arche Noah, PAN Europeand BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordinationare presenting the following recommendations to Members of COM AGRI for the upcoming vote next week:
A. Conditionality (Annex III and Article 12)
We urge AGRI Members to support alternative Compromise Amendment (CA) 10 on Annex III, containing the conditionality rules – and to firmly reject the rapporteur’s CA. The rapporteur’s CA on Annex III weakens conditionality; e.g. in GAEC 9 it removes the obligation to devote a minimum share of agricultural area to so-called ‘non-productive features’. We consider that non-productive features are crucial for reversing biodiversity loss and can, under certain conditions, improve a farmer’s yields, for instance when providing fodder for pollinators. The rapporteur’s CA also considerably reduces the scope of ‘GAEC 2’ (protection of wetland and peatland), which exists to prevent carbon-rich soils from being ploughed up, releasing more CO2 into our atmosphere.
For the same reasons, we recommend a vote against the rapporteur’s CA 12 on Article 12, which allows Member States (MS) to establish ‘equivalent practices’ as an alternative to conditionality rules. We appeal to AGRI MEPs to instead fight for the ‘Common’ in the CAP, which means having a strong core of similar rules applicable to farmers!
We should make no mistake: weakening ‘conditionality’ undermines the CAP’s most important instrument to fight Climate Change and reverse biodiversity loss, since it applies to around 7million farmers. Payments tied to conditionality cover the vast majority of Europe’s farmland and account for the lion’s share of the Pillar One budget. It is not credible to argue that the CAP’s impact on the environment and biodiversity can be improved whilst unravelling conditionality.
B. Wine Sector (Articles 51, 52, and 53)
We call on AGRI Members to support Alternative CAs 4,5 & 6 on Articles 51, 52 & 53 on the wine sector, rejecting the rapporteur’s compromises. These alternative CAs recognise that the CAP must go further in helping and incentivizing the winemaking sector to adopt more sustainable methods of production. That is good for farmers’ pockets (less money spent on pesticides), for consumers (whose demand for chemical-free wines is on the rise) and for the environment. We call on AGRI Members to recognise that the wine-making sector is at a historical crossroads, as underlined by the French agriculture research institute INRA .
C. Indicators (Annex I)
We support the rapporteur’s CA on Annex 1, since it includes better biodiversity indicators, notably a Pollinators Index, which is important as a broad ‘proxy’ measure of biodiversity in the countryside and to inform policymakers on pollination services which are crucial for the cultivation of certain agricultural crops. We also strongly support the indicator on agrobiodiversity and the improved wording in the indicator on pesticides, which now specifically mentions pesticide use.
 For further detail, see the press release on the legacy of Alain Bouquet.
Download this Document on Joint Recommendations for COM AGRI
About ARCHE NOAH: ARCHE NOAH (Noah’s Ark) is a seed savers’ association based in Central Europe. With over 17.000 members and supporters, we have over 25 years’ experience in the conservation, development and promotion of crop diversity. In our offices in Vienna and Brussels, we work for policies that support a more biodiverse, sustainable agriculture. www.arche-noah.at Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org + 32 (0) 497 068 396
About PAN EUROPE: Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) was founded in 1987 and brings together consumer, public health, environmental organisations, and women's groups from across Europe. PAN Europe is part of the global network PAN International working to minimise the negative effects and replace the use of harmful pesticides with ecologically sound alternatives.
About BeeLife: BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination is an association formed by professionals of the beekeeping sector from different countries of the European Union. Its main activity is the study of the impact on bees of environmental threats such as pesticides, climate change or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). BeeLife works for the protection of bees and biodiversity through its network of over 20 beekeeping associations from several countries of the EU. www.bee-life.eu Contact us: Andrés SALAZAR email@example.com + 32 492 53 99 77