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EU Environment Commissioner Pushes for Stronger Greening of CAP

07 Mar 2013

Ahead of a critical plenary vote in the European Parliament on CAP reform on 13 March, EU Environment Commissioner, Janez Potocnik, expressed reservations about the watering down of the Commission’s proposals to green the CAP. In an address to the Forum for the Future of Agriculture in Brussels, he said that both the European Parliament’s COMAGRI outcome and the Agriculture Council discussions risk “missing out the clear notes of a finely tuned piano in the permitted measures.” In particular, he criticised the COMAGRI decision to exclude the Water Framework and the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directives from cross-compliance and the European Council’s silence in this respect, saying “What we want is to prevent pollution by a tough, but fair, cross-compliance.”
He emphasised that CAP reform in a lighter shade of green would “give the signal that agricultural policy is incapable of reform” and said that this could lead to louder cries for “more environmental legislation and environmental funding independent of the CAP.” This echoes Alan Matthew’s recent analysis of the European Council’s MFF agreement. Matthews argues that those who control farm spending are unwilling to embrace the philosophy of public money for public goods and it may be time, therefore, to give greater responsibility to “those who are charged with implementing an environmental mandate” i.e. DG Environment rather than DG Agriculture. Could the same be said for the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee rather than COMAGRI? 
For more information, see this blog on the implications for agriculture of the recent European Council agreement and this paper on how and why the greening proposals are being watered down, both by Professor Alan Matthews. 
This content forms part of the Environment Nexus project, which is co-financed bDG Communication of the European Parliament.

As an independent forum, the Institute does not express any opinions of its own. The views expressed in the article are the sole responsibility of the author.

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