The fight for EU agricultural reform may enter a decisive phase | Free press

For years there has been a struggle to reorient the common agricultural policy at EU level. Until recently, opponents argued over the details, now a deal is in sight.

Brussels (dpa) – The dispute over the multi-billion dollar EU agricultural policy reform may enter its decisive phase.

EU agriculture ministers meet today and negotiators from the European Parliament and EU countries argue over the final details of the € 387 billion package. Those involved assume that an agreement is possible this week.

Since last week, interest groups have been spreading fear about the outcome of the talks. Everyone agrees that there is an urgent need to reform the EU’s agricultural policy, but how this should be achieved and what goals will be at the top in the future has been hotly debated. The EU parliament and EU countries met yesterday for talks.

The orientation of agricultural policy at EU level is also important for Germany. The previous distribution of money is made partly responsible for environmental pollution from farmers and the death of farms. One of the main criticisms is that so far the lion’s share of EU payments has been linked to land owned by farmers. As a result, about 80 percent of the funds go to 20 percent of the companies. Moreover, environmentally friendly measures have so far only been supported with a relatively small share of the resources.

Environmentalists have long complained that agriculture is too damaging to the environment. High nitrate pollution caused by overuse of fertilizers or pesticides and monocultures damaging bee colonies are just two examples. Agriculture and livestock are also responsible for a large part of greenhouse gas emissions.

Farmers’ representatives especially fear less money for the farms and more bureaucracy. For example, the German farmers’ union recently spoke out against setting social standards at EU level. This is a matter for the nation states. “The German Farmers’ Union therefore rejects a link between the EU’s direct payments and the requirements of social conditions,” he said.

In addition to social norms, so-called eco-regulations are currently being contested. In the future, a certain part of the EU agricultural budget will be linked to these environmental rules. But it is also not yet clear which specific money will be given and whether the EU or national states may impose these rules.

For this reason, environmental and climate advocates fear that in the end there will be mainly beautiful headlines, but that no effective measures will be taken for nature. Climate activists Greta Thunberg and Luisa Neubauer of Fridays for Future have therefore long been calling for the reform to be withdrawn in its current form.

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