CAP reform – Can the Czechs make it happen?

Date

18 Dec 2008

Sections

Health & Consumers
Agriculture & Food

High expectations for Czech Presidency to start an honest debate about the future of the EU’s agriculture policy.

Brussels, 18 December 2008 – Today, French Minister Michel Barnier is handing over the Agriculture Council chairmanship to his Czech counterpart Petr Gandalovič. While the French Presidency was desperately trying to salvage the current EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Czechs on the contrary will be aiming for a slimmer, simpler and more cost‐effective CAP – and they will use the ongoing EU budget review discussions for this. How far they will get is to be seen over the next six months.

BirdLife International [1] today welcomed the fact that the Czech government has put the reform of the EU budget, including CAP spending, high on the Presidency priority list when it launched its own catalogue of demands for the coming six months, its biannual publication ‘Greening Europe’ [2].

BirdLife stressed that the French Presidency has been a disappointment from the environmental point of view, and failed the test of bringing Europe closer to a sustainable future. An outstanding example for this is the agriculture policy.
“Since the French managed to neutralise most reform efforts during the CAP Health Check, it is now up to the Czech Republic to ensure progress. Its Presidency slogan “EU without barriers” is very promising if applied to the CAP: we need a real no taboo debate.” stated Konstantin Kreiser, EU Policy Manager at BirdLife International European Division.
“In Europe, agricultural intensification is a key driver for biodiversity loss, deteriorating our ecosystems and thus undermining our capacities to adapt to climate change and our long‐term food security. We urge the Czech Republic to use the moment of the Budget Review to show leadership and to move Europe closer to a sustainable rural development policy that delivers true public value for taxpayers’ money [3]” added Kreiser. “The current system has no justification to continue.”

The Czech Republic comes to the EU steering wheel less than one year before the 2010 deadline for achieving the EU objective of halting biodiversity loss [4] and during the preparation for the December 2009 Copenhagen meeting which will set up the framework for the world’s future climate change policy.

BirdLife expects the Czech Presidency to facilitate a number of important decisions in this context, which are outlined in BirdLife’s new edition of “Greening Europe” (available for download at http://www.birdlife.org/eu/pdfs/Greening_Europe_Czech_Presidency_Jan_Jun_2... ).
For more information, please contact:
Tatiana Nemcova, EU Advocacy Officer at BirdLife International ‐ +32 238 50 93, tatiana.nemcova@birdlife.org