Hundreds of farmers protest in front of the EP against CAP reforms


Hundreds of farmers will protest today in front of the European Parliament, calling for less direct payments to large industrial farms under the proposed revision of the common Agricultural Policy (CAP). EURACTIV reports on the event.

The Union of seven environmental and agricultural organisations plans to hold a protest at the beginning of the third plenary session of the newly elected EU Parliament in Strasbourg. Hundreds of farmers and activists from Germany and France want to park their tractors in front of the Parliament in Strasbourg and hand over their demands.

They will protest against the current CAP project. “The demonstration must be a signal to Parliament and also to the Commission that the current draft of the new CAP needs to be urgently reviewed”, says Saskia Richard, the German spokesman of the Alliance Good Food Good Farming. “The new scientific findings from IPCC’s recent reports should also be taken into account,” she told EURACTIV.

The demonstration marks the end of a month’s protests across Europe against the current CAP text. Last year, numerous actions were held in 19 Member States and a petition with 114 000 signatures was handed over to EU Ministers of Agriculture.

The Alliance reiterates its call for a reorientation of the CAP to support greater supply of local food. “Farmers continue to produce for the global market too often, not for their own region. This is not sustainable.”,  says Richard.

Good Food Good Farming also requires more resources to be unlocked to protect farmland and limit pesticide use.

“But the biggest problem is direct payments, as they mainly support large farms instead of small and medium-sized farms, which make up the bulk of the sector,” said Richard. According to the alliance, direct payments need to be progressively reduced, starting with the reallocation of 50% of the funds to the two CAP pillars.

Currently, payments based on the first pillar represent around 70% to 80% of the total budget, with an average of 40% of the revenues of European farmers.

According to the demonstrators, the new draft CAP project lacks mandatory guidelines for environmental protection. The planned ‘improved conditionality’, which links direct payments based on the area of the CAP, with certain conditions, is ‘so widely diversified that it does not contribute to the necessary restructuring of the agricultural sector’, adds Saskia Richard. For example, lump sums are granted for renovation of the stables, without verifying that the measures applied are climate-friendly or not.

The new freewheeling that Member States must have in the allocation of funds also poses a risk.

“It makes sense to adapt the measures to local conditions. But given that countries can set their own priorities, we are afraid that climate projects will be reduced. “