European Parliament adopts new CAP, after long debates

After three and a half years of negotiations, the Twenty-Seven and the European Parliament have finally agreed on the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP), which will come into force in January 2023. Tuesday, November 23, MEPs, meeting in Strasbourg , adopted the new CAP – with an envelope of around 50 billion euros per year until 2027 -, which represents nearly a third of the European Union (EU) budget and of which France remains the largest beneficiary.

The EPP Conservatives and Renew Liberals voted for it. The Social Democrats of the S&D group were divided when the Greens and the far left, who believe that the text is not ambitious enough for the environment, got there widely opposed. Many NGOs have also denounced the shortcomings of the reform. In a tweet, climate activist Greta Thunberg, for her part, judged this CAP “Disastrous for the climate and the environment”, regretting that she is not “Not in line with the Paris agreement” of 2015, which sets the goal of limiting global warming “Well below” 2 ° C, if possible at 1.5 ° C.

An overall budget “down slightly”

If the debates focused on the global envelope – “Slightly down”, recognizes LR MEP Anne Sander – they mainly focused on greening the CAP and bringing it into line with European climate and environmental objectives.

“We defended an environmental CAP but with a strong economic component” in favor of farmers, argues Anne Sander, for whom “We cannot say that the CAP does not take into account the Green Deal”. In theory, in any case, the CAP of tomorrow will be greener. Today, around 30% of aid from this community policy – premiums paid to farmers and rural development budget – are conditional on compliance with measures such as the diversification of rotations or the maintenance of permanent meadows. From 2023, this percentage will rise to 78% on average (90% for France).

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But the Greens and part of the left believe that the greening criteria are not up to the challenges and that they leave the door open to “greenwashing”. Green MEP Benoît Biteau thus denounces a “Canada Dry Ecology” and one “Specifications too weak for this transition to be initiated”.

Another innovation introduced by the reform of the CAP, which aims to make it greener: part of the budget is now reserved for farmers who will participate in more ambitious environmental programs and will go beyond simple compliance with greening criteria. The reform provides that 25% of direct aid must be devoted to these “Eco-diets”, that each member state must define as part of its strategic plan. “These eco-diets will strongly encourage farmers to do more for the environment”, underlines the macronist Pascal Canfin, president of the environment committee of the European Parliament.

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European Parliament adopts new CAP, after long debates

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