Over 130 European civil society organisations have called on EU ministers to radically reform EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), ahead of meetings on Monday in Brussels, according to the European Environmental Bureau.
With an annual budget of roughly €59 billion, the aim of the CAP is to strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture in Europe by financing a range of support measures, including direct payments, market measures and rural development programmes.
In a statement, the civil society groups, spanning organic farmers, pastoralists, forestry and health organisations, say that the current food and farming system favours “factory style farming”, agro-industrial methods and global commodity chains over a diversity of farming methods, animal welfare and well-being.
The statement calls for urgent reform to enable transition to a system, which supports fair and diverse food and farming economies, underpinned by viable alternatives like organic and agro-ecological farming, which respect the environment.
European Environment Bureau’s Agriculture Policy Manager, Faustine Bas-Defossez, said: “We can no longer afford to pour over €55 billion of taxpayers’ money every year into a policy which is driving the depletion of the precious natural resources farmers rely on to produce our food” and that “Environment Ministers should also have a seat at the negotiation table.”
Agriculture represents about 10 per cent the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock emissions like ammonia also contribute significantly to air pollution, a cause of over 400,000 early deaths each year in the EU.