This is another step backwards for the common agricultural policy (CAP). After three days of negotiations, MEPs and member states of the European Union (EU) finally failed to reach an agreement on the new CAP intended to “Green” European agriculture from 2023, the European Council announced on Friday (May 28th), specifying that talks would resume ” in June “. “A significant number of critical issues remain unresolved. It was therefore decided to postpone the discussions ”, specified the Council, the body representing the States.
A new proposal from European agriculture ministers, meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels, was deemed by MEPs still too far removed from their environmental and social demands.
The Twenty-Seven had approved the reform of the CAP in October 2020, with a budget of 387 billion euros for seven years, including 270 billion in direct aid to farmers, but they must imperatively come to an agreement with the European Parliament.
Key file: the “Eco-diets”, bonuses granted to farmers participating in demanding environmental programs. MEPs initially demanded that they represent at least 30% of direct payments to farmers. States have said they are ready to accept a 25% threshold, but blockages remain over the possible transition period for their implementation.
The ministers also propose to reallocate unused funds on this percentage, to the chagrin of parliamentarians, who fear that this mechanism will lead to less endowment of eco-regimes.
“An agreement, but not at any price”
States also want to remain free to define the content of eco-regimes, but MEPs are calling for a strict framework and the alignment of national policies with European environmental and climate strategies (Green Pact, organic farming objectives, quantitative reduction of pesticides, etc.). “We want to make a deal, but not at any cost”, explained on Friday morning the Portuguese Minister Maria do Céu Antunes, who is negotiating on behalf of the States.
“Farmers must not be buried in bureaucracy (…) We want to reward environmental practices, but it must be financially feasible”, warned German Minister Julia Klöckner.
States also refuse to make subsidies to farmers conditional on compliance with social standards. Green MEP Martin Häusling denounced a “Radicalization of the position” ministers. “Everyone must show responsibility, without economic sustainability (of farmers’ income), no environmental and climatic sustainability”, pleaded Anne Sander, negotiator (EPP, right) of the Parliament.