Relaxing environmental requirements is not the way forward for EU farming


Relaxing environmental requirements is not the way forward for EU farming

15 March 2024
Eurogroup for Animals supports 330+ European coalitions and civil society organisations representing producers, consumers, environmentalists, animal welfare, health and nutrition experts that have expressed their concern for the loosening of the green architecture of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).

In the same week that the European Environment Agency published the first-ever European Climate Risk Assessment calling for urgent climate action on ecosystems and food, the European Commission proposed measures to revise the CAP that will lead us further away from food system resilience

Since February, there has been a derogation that puts declining biodiversity under further pressure by removing the requirement to leave at least 4% of arable land at the farm to non-productive purposes in order for the farm to receive support. Further loosening of environmental requirements for the recipients of EU funds are now proposed. 

Eurogroup for Animals supports the call that EU funds should contribute to achieving the environmental and social  sustainability objectives of the CAP, including reinforcing the contribution of higher animal welfare to sustainability. During the previous CAP period, 2014-2020, the policy was criticised by the European Court of Auditors for not managing to stop the decline of biodiversity.

The open letter signed by over 330 European coalitions and organisations points out that farmers’ protests cannot be used as an excuse to loosen the green architecture of the CAP

Farmers are protesting for many reasons:

  • Concern about cheap imports that do not comply with EU environmental and animal welfare standards.
  • Unfair conditions within the agri-food chain where middle-chain retailers press the prices and increase margins. 
  • CAP payments favour industrial farms over small scale models, with a small number of industrial farms receiving the majority of the funds.

Eurogroup for Animals asks the Commission to stay focused on the transition to a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. Keeping the recent risk assessment from EEA in mind, relaxing environmental conditionality in agriculture is a step in the wrong direction. We need to make sure that more farmers are incentivised and supported to transition to agro-ecology and organic farming, with higher animal welfare standards.