NGOs demand “Fitness check” of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Open letter demands review of the European food and farming system

[Brussels, 21 March 2016, via BirdLife Europe] More than 100 NGOs active in farming, development, environment, climate, animal welfare, food systems and public health, have signed a joint letter to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to demand a review of the European food and farming system.


The CAP, which accounts for almost 40% of the EU Budget, is not equipped to address the fundamental challenges that Europe is facing in the agriculture sector. It has not been able to prevent and in many cases even paved the way for an unfair system for farmers, a constant crisis on agricultural markets, a continuous decline in the state of natural resources, failures in delivering in animal welfare, serious public health effects, and severe negative impacts beyond Europe’s borders. The European Commission needs to urgently evaluate if the CAP fulfils its objectives and conduct an ambitious “Fitness Check”; it is time for President Juncker to step up his commitment to the better regulation agenda.


Trees Robijns, Senior EU Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer at BirdLife Europe, stated: “We need a good, open and honest debate with all stakeholders about the CAP based on five points so often touted by the fitness check: its effectiveness, efficiency, coherence with other EU policies, relevance and the added value of an EU-wide policy against national ones. Essentially, the EU would finally have to ask itself (and answer) the question: Is the CAP fit for purpose?”


Faustine Bas-Defossez, European Environmental Bureau (EEB) Senior Policy Officer for Agriculture and Bioenergy, said: “It is time for Juncker to give Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan the mandate to open the debate on whether the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is fit-for-purpose. Given that 53 billion euros (3) is pumped into Europe’s farming system every year, it is only fair that taxpayers are allowed to see if they are getting a good return for their money. The European Commission has already put much of the EU’s environmental legislation through the mill, and it seems only right that the same level of scrutiny is applied to EU farm policies.


Policymakers continue to claim that EU farming policies are greener and fairer than ever. But science shows that this is not the case. We need a food and farming policy that gives EU citizens access to healthy soils, water, air and, obviously, food. Farmers should be rewarded for such work, not for ploughing massive amounts of toxic chemicals into our land which are detrimental to their health, that of consumers and our nature.”


The money spent on the CAP has to deliver policy that benefits EU citizens, farmers, our environment, our animals, our health and climate. To ensure this, we need a “Fitness check” of the CAP and we need it to start now!


IWE Berlin, 31.03.2016



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