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Monday, 18 February 2013

EU Commissioner Ciolos: a good deal for a greener CAP

Around €100 billion out of a global CAP budget of €363 billion for the period 2014-2020 will be dedicated to the protection of natural resources after last week's agreement on the EU's long term budget, says Dacian Cioloş, the European Commissioner in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development. The challenge now is to define concrete measures to make a real difference for the environment and to secure the long term competitiveness of EU farmers, he believes.
As proposed by the European Commission, and voted by last week's agreement among EU leaders on the EU budget, 30% of direct payment to European farmers will be linked to environmentally-friendly agronomic methods. Thus, approximately €80 billion will be linked to the provision of environmental public goods through "green" direct payments. Moreover, at least €20 billion of Rural Development funds should be invested in schemes which benefit the environment and climate change.
The commissioner tabled  there concrete greening measures to be negotiated with  the European Parliament and the Member States:  crop diversification – aimed at avoiding soil depletion and biodiversity loss;  maintaining permanent pastures – land which is important for carbon sequestration, fighting against soil erosion and keeping a wide range of fauna and flora; and 7% ecological focus areas on farms – as farms are not just fields, but include also hedges, agricultural paths, small walls, thickets, buffer strips.
Even if the commissioner Ciolos is satisfied with the deal reached on the green CAP, environmental campaigners accuse that the EP agricultural committee in January and the EU Council budget deal on 8th of February both backed changes to weaken the Commission’s ‘greening’ proposals on environmental standards. The Agricultural EP committee voted in January 2013 to exempt small farms from the so-called greening rules, as well as growers who meet individual member states’ environmental certification programmes; Now, NGOs and social groups in Brussels are hoping that a change will occur in the last moment –at the final vote by the full Parliament on March 12.


Source: Euractiv