ForumforAg Food Systems Podcast Summary

Food Systems Podcast 24

In discussion with Bérénice Dupeux Podcast summary

Thursday, Jun 10, 2021

The CAP needs rewriting to align with the Green Deal

For Europe’s green strategy to have an impact, the Common Agricultural Policy has to go back to basics to support it, says Bérénice Dupeux, Senior Policy Officer for Agriculture at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). Legally binding environmental targets and new criteria for funding are a must, she says. Read our short podcast summary below, or dive into the 20-minute Food Systems Podcast for much more. 

Why should the current CAP proposal be withdrawn and rewritten?

It goes back to 2017. An EEB study showed that the greening of the CAP was having no impact, so we called for the European Commission to undertake ambitious reform. The proposal that came out was timid and mostly maintains the status quo.

After the European election, the new Commission published the EU Green Deal along with the Farm to Fork and Bodiversity strategies. So we called for the CAP to be fully aligned with the new ambitions.

However, the Commission has left it to Parliament and the Council to do the alignment. So far, Parliament has not committed the CAP to the Green Deal strategy. When it comes to the final vote, they can either accept the CAP as it is or restart the process – which is what we are calling on them to do. This way, environmental ministers and institutions can also have a seat at the table.

Do you think the current CAP proposal will pass or be rejected?

The same people are negotiating the CAP as in the past, so I don’t think it will be rejected.

If the CAP proposal were withdrawn, how would EEB rewrite it to be greener?

EEB has put forward quantitative targets for reducing greenhouse gases, pesticides and nutrients and these need to be made legally binding. To achieve these targets, we need proper incentives. That means abolishing harmful subsidies that encourage pollution, for instance, CAP support for the livestock sector. Money needs to be spent on policy that delivers environmental and climate-positive outcomes, which must be measured.

How would you design a more effective biodiversity component of the CAP?

We need coherence on all the environmental dimensions, so the accent should be put on farming systems that deliver multiple positive outputs.

What about redistributing European funds to farmers – how should they be targeted?

We need a fairer CAP, and the most unfair part currently is the direct payment as it is not based on reliable data. We need to collect data about farmers’ incomes, and make it compulsory for member states to provide tailor-made policy instruments. One could look at family farm income, another could look at helping farmers restore and preserve land, for instance.

One frequent complaint is that the CAP is not transparent. How would you change that?

Member states are going to design the national CAP strategic plan. It’s really important that in the drafting process at national level all stakeholders, including environmental stakeholders, have a seat at the table. And not just be consulted last-minute to tick a box.

Would you keep the national plans, or control strategy at the Brussels level?

The EEB is not against national plans as long as there is proper accountability. It makes sense to tailor policies to your environment and your context. However, giving a blank cheque to member states to do what they want with, and reviewing it from far away in Brazil, is not the answer.

If you have found this short summary interesting, there’s lots more to hear in the full 20-minute conversation. It is available now on iTunes, Podbean or Spotify or on this website.

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