Just Agriculture, Alimentation Sovereignty and Forest Use

Reform of the Common European Agricultural Policy: rewarding public services

All in all, it can be said that the current state of the Common European Agricultural Policy (CAP) promotes industrial production methods and thus contributes to climate change. A reform of the CAP therefore appears to be overdue. (→ Agricultural policy). 

What's the problem?

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) accounts for more than a third of the EU budget. Germany receives 6.2 billion euros annually from the European agricultural budget. The Federal Environment Agency, the Working Group on Rural Agriculture and other stakeholders describe the current form of the CAP as inefficient in terms of environmental protection and criticise the fact that the flat-rate area-based payments primarily benefit large farms. Since 2003, European farms have been receiving a flat-rate area payment: the more area, the higher the direct payments. This is intended to support farmers' income. But in the EU as a whole, 80% of the money goes to 20% of farms. In contrast to other countries, there is also no upper limit for → subsidies in Germany. There is also a sub-programme in the promotion of the so-called second pillar, "rural development", which is intended to serve environmental protection. However, these programmes would have a little effect considering the fact that their sum is much lower than that of the first pillar and that they have to be co-financed by the states.

What's the measure?

1. Abolition of the CAP funds in the first and second pillar. Instead, a consistent orientation of the entire CAP subsidies (--> Subvention) towards social services that are positively rewarded in terms of income: Management of areas with a low average plot size (diverse plot structure):

  •     Use of agro-ecological cultivation methods (→ Agroecology)
  •     Preservation and maintenance of landscape elements
  •     Compliance with high animal husbandry criteria
  •     Preservation, continuation and new establishment of sustainable farming operations
  •     Cultivation of food crops instead of energy crops (except where the latter is more ecologically sound, e.g. --> paludiculture on organic soils)

2. To review the setting of binding and ambitious climate, environmental, animal welfare and social objectives for all EU Member States with binding minimum budgets, impact indicators and, if necessary, to enforce them by means of sanctions 3. Prioritisation of agricultural research funds for the promotion of → agroecology and participatory research with producers

What can the implementation look like?

In the forthcoming 2020 CAP reform, Germany should work within the EU to ensure that the money is only paid for environmental, climate or water protection, animal welfare and sensible structural investments in rural value creation

How will this counteract climate change?

  • Income-effective remuneration for the integration of legumes in extended crop rotations, agroforestry systems, optimised nutrient recycling and reduced tillage without the use of pesticides can reduce GHGs or create natural → sinks for GHGs (Greenhouse Gas Emissions)
  • Reducing nitrogen emissions by setting mandatory, ambitious quantifiable targets for reducing the use of agrochemicals, in particular mineral fertilizers, to avoid nitrogen surpluses.
  • Reduction of GHG from livestock farming by obligatory land commitment in livestock farming, promotion of extensive grazing, and linking investment support for livestock buildings to climate protection requirements such as reduced livestock numbers and straw bedding or separation of solid and liquid excrement.
  • Saving GHG from transport and storage by promoting regional processing and marketing.
  • Reduction of GHG by promoting permanent pasture protection and withholding or refunding the total CAP payments in case of unauthorised permanent pasture conversion
  • Creation of natural GHG sinks by promoting bog restoration and withholding or repaying all CAP subsidies in the event of breaches of bog protection.

What other effects does the measure have?

  • General strengthening of organic farming in Europe and thus improving biodiversity and water quality
  • The current CAP contributes to a decreasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises in the food processing sector and thus to fewer people making a living in the field of agriculture. A reform could reverse this trend.

How quickly can the measure be implemented?i

Evtl. können nicht alle Maßnahmen sofort umgesetzt werden.

Wie lang dauert es, bis die Maßnahme Wirkung zeigt?

Evtl. zeigt die Maßnahme auch bei sofortiger Umsetzung nicht unmittelbar eine Wirkung.

Bezüge zu anderen Maßnahmen

Hier könnten Kommentare zu möglichen Konflikten mit anderen Maßnahmen stehen, aber auch anderweitige Bezüge, z.B. wenn Maßnahmen einander bedingen, um wirkungsvoll zu sein (z.B. weil sonst Verlagerungseffekte entstehen würden).

Probleme sozialer, globaler oder Generationengerechtigkeit

Kommentare zu den verschiedenen Gerechtigkeitsproblemen.

Further Literature, Sources

ABL Vorschlag für eine gerechte EU Agrarpolitik nach 2020, Abrufbar unter:\&cHash=a4726ae3a3fb05474c77d57c021028b3

Reinhild Benning und Tobias Reichert (2016) Fundamente statt Säulen: Vorschläge für eine Neuausrichtung der europäischen Agrarpolitik Abrufbar unter:

Umweltbundesamt (2019) Fragen und Antworten zur europäischen Agrarförderung Abrufbar unter:\#wie-soll-der-erfolg-bei-der-umsetzung-der-gap-bewertet-werden

  1. Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft eKVK (2018): Vorschlag für eine gerechte EU-Agrarpolitik nach 2020 - Agrarpolitik auf Qualität ausrichten.
  2. Reinhild Benning und Tobias Reichert: Fundamente statt Säulen: Vorschläge für eine Neuausrichtung der europäischen Agrarpolitik (2016) Die Grünen - Europäische Freie Allianz im Europäischen Parlament.
  3. Umweltbundesamt: Wie soll der Erfolg bei der Umsetzung der GAP bewertet werden? - Fragen und Antworten zur europäischen Agrarförderung (2019)