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S&Ds: A conservative ultra-liberal agriculture policy is not what EU citizens expect. We’ll keep fighting for a more sustainable CAP


Agriculture & Food
Following the today vote in the European Parliament’s agriculture committee on the Strategic Plan regulation of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), the S&D Group underlines the shortcomings of the draft report backed by a conservative-liberal majority that has even less ambition in terms of sustainability and environmental protection than the proposal from the Commission. 
The shadow rapporteur for the Strategic Plan Regulation of the Common Agriculture Policy and S&D Member, Maria Noichl, said:
“This proposal came from a conservative Commissioner and it was worsened by a conservative-liberal majority in the agricultural committee, despite the efforts of our Group and others throughout the weeks of negotiations to make it much more progressive.
“We have been successful in shaping the compromises on more than a hundred articles, but there are key points where the final result is not satisfactory, especially when it comes to rewarding farmers for more sustainable modes of production and more delivery of public goods. For us it is clear, citizens want to see a changes on the fields in Europe with a more sustainable and animal-friendly CAP which delivers public goods for European taxpayers’ money. Sadly, the EPP and ALDE see this differently and have worked to undermine the environmental obligations of farmers. The current text even falls below the environmental expectations of the European Commission.
“The S&D Group has been clear that basic payments, which are being spent without checking the economic needs of the recipients, should be capped at a lower level to ensure a more equitable approach. The Group wants to make sure that public money will reach those who need it and will be used to incentivise the provision of public goods.
“We wanted a higher level of funds for the measures which will deliver those public goods - notably the Eco-Schemes, but the EPP and ECR were not interested.”
The S&D coordinator in the agriculture committee, Nicola Caputo, added:
"The new CAP should place small sustainable producers at the centre and encourage young farmers to join the profession. These should be our priorities.
“Small farms are dying while big ones are still growing, with the EU losing about 30% of its farms since 2003. The loss of so many small farms, means that a staggering 72% of all European livestock products now come from Europe’s largest and most environmentally destructive category of farms.  The CAP has accompanied this trend.  With the CAP reform, the S&D has tried to turn the tide against the factory and intensive farming model wanted by the EPP and ECR, notably though capping the payments for big farmers at €60,000 while redistributing the savings to smaller farmers.
“Governments may, initially, like the idea of having more say at national level through the national plans, but in the long run, eroding the common approach can only damage European agriculture overall if there is no clear common framework. The European Parliament will have to make sure that this common character is preserved in the negotiations to come. Members of the next Parliament will be active in the future negotiations, and we will play a full role in these discussions from the progressive side of the House.”