How can the EU avoid actually importing deforestation?

Deforestation and EU imports of agri-food products

How can the EU avoid actually importing deforestation?

September 2019

The recent forest fires in the Amazon have put a renewed focus on the loss of forests at a global level, and on its connection to the EU’s international trading policy on importing various agri-food products that are linked to deforestation.

Since mid-July thousands of fires have been burning in the Amazon, destroying the habitat of the world’s largest rainforest. According to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), there were over 80 percent more forest fires than in the same period of the previous year. Images of the burning forests, smoke and a black sky over Sao Paulo have circulated the Internet resulting in increased public concern, culminating in an outcry from the international community. Several world leaders, such as UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the Pope and the G7 Summit, have joined NGOs in calling for a global commitment to more effectively and efficiently fight the fires.

The current fires in the Amazon renew attention to the loss of forests at global level.

If the loss of forests is not new, it has to be acknowledged that it now happens at an alarming rate. INPE’s latest preliminary data on the loss of trees in the Amazon show that an area of 1145 km2 – almost as big as Greater London – was cleared just in August, making it the highest level in the past five years. 1

In 1990 the world had 4 128 million ha of forest; in 2015 this area had decreased to 3 999 million ha2, and the latest FAO Report on the State of the World’s forests (2018) states that the “total area of the world’s forests is shrinking day by day”. During this period the largest forest area losses occurred in the tropics, particularly in South America, Africa and Indonesia.

Forest/land area

Forest area

UN Forest Cover 2015 1990 2000 2005 2010 2015 Change 1990-2015
Country % (1000 ha) (1000 ha) (1000 ha) (1000 ha) (1000 ha) (1000 ha)
Angola 46.4 60976 59728 59104 58480 57856 -3120
Brazil 59 546705 521274 506734 498458 493538 -53167
Cameroon 39.8 24316 22116 21016 19916 18816 -5500
Colombia 52.7 64417 61798 60201 58635 58502 -5915
Congo 65.4 22726 22556 22471 22411 22334 -392
Côte d’Ivoire 32.7 10222 10328 10405 10403 10401 179
DRC 67.3 160363 157249 155692 154135 152578 – 7785
Ecuador 50.5 14631 13729 13335 12942 12548 -2083
Honduras 41 8136 6392 5792 5192 4592 -3544
Indonesia 53 118545 99409 97857 94432 91010 -27535
Malaysia 67.6 22376 21591 20890 22124 22195 -181
Nigeria 7.7 17234 13137 11089 9041 6993 -10241
Paraguay 38.6 21157 19368 18475 16950 15323 5834

(Data from the UN FAO 2015 Forest Resources Assessment)

According to FAOSTAT, while in 1990, Brazil was 65,41% covered by forests, this dropped to 59,05% in 2015. The same dramatic trend can be seen in Indonesia as well: 65,44% in 1990 and 50,24% in 2015.

FAO’s 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessment shows that agriculture is expanding at the expense of forests in countries located in South America (e.g. Argentina, Brazil), South-East Asia (e.g. Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand) and West & Central Africa.

The State of the World’s Forests 2018 concludes that “one of the great challenges of our times is the question on how to increase agricultural production and improve food security without reducing forest area.“ 3

Besides wildfires and illegal logging, the causes of deforestationthe conversion of forest to other land use or the long term reduction of the tree canopy cover below a minimum 10 percent threshold – are numerous and include the conversion of forests mainly for agricultural purposes, mining, infrastructure development and urban growth. Some of these conversions can even occur with the support of national authorities as for example most recently Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has defended the opening of indigenous lands for mining and threatened to pull Brazil out of the Paris Agreement.

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These practices are global and can also be observed in Central Africa, which due to the Amazon fire coverage has gained more attention recently as satellite images show intense fires near the Congo Basin. 4

According to UNEP5, besides illegal logging and fires, widespread investments in palm oil plantations are the leading cause of rainforest destruction in South-East Asia. Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s leading exporters of palm oil, with production skyrocketing. Based on FAOSTAT, the area under palm cultivation expanding by a factor of 7 times in Indonesia (from 1190000 ha to 8630000 ha) and almost doubled in Malaysia (from 2540087 ha to 4859397 ha) between 1995 and 2015. Greenpeace and Forum for Environment (Walhi) argue that due to its loopholes, Indonesia’s legal moratorium on converting primary natural forests and peatlands to palm and logging concessions has been ineffective. The European Commission’s Report on the status of production expansion of relevant food and feed crops worldwide (2019) states that palm oil is the highest ILUC-risk biofuel feedstock.6

Economic losses from weather and climate-related events already average EUR 12 billion per year in the EU (EUR 426 billion – at 2017 values – between 1980 and 2017)7, which is only set to increase in the future if no action is taken.

The EU is well aware of the situation and is committed to act against it. Just recently the European Commission has published its Communication “on stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests”, in which it calls for “a variety of regulatory and non-regulatory actions” and proposes a list of initial actions to reach its two-fold objective of protecting existing forests and increasing global forest coverage. In doing so, the Commission sets out five priorities, including reducing the EU consumption footprint on land and encouraging the consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains.

Through its trade and consumption of various agri-food products, the EU causes deforestation. In its resolution on palm oil and deforestation of rainforests, the European Parliament noted that a little under one quarter (by value) of all agricultural commodities in international trade obtained from illegal deforestation is destined for the EU. 8 Such previously identified products coming from agriculture include palm oil, soy, rubber, beef, maize, cocoa and coffee. 9

The origin of the goods and services consumed in the EU27 that were associated with deforestation (between 1990-2008) point towards South America and South- East Asia. For Southeast Asia, palm oil is the main source of deforestation related to EU imports. For South America, this is primarily beef and soy.

This trade could be expanded under the proposed EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement. Experts have well described the vicious circle of the Amazonian forests being deforested due to illegal logging of a few high value trees and the burning of other low-value trees into charcoal sold to the iron and steel industries, with the land cleared being then used as pasture for beef production. In this disaster in the making for the climate and our planet, the share of deforestation attributable to farmers, including small farmers, whose production consolidates the overall supply of meat from Brazil and its ability to export, can’t be denied.

In the context of the proposed EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement the export of beef meat is planned to increase and additional beef production in the Amazon – even if only consumed in the domestic market – frees up more beef produced in Center and South Brazil for export too.

During the Commission’s publication of the Forest Communication, Commissioner Jyrki Katainen defended the Mercosur deal by stating that it requires Paris Agreement compliance and contains a “strong, robust sustainable development chapter, which gives the EU a stronger hand to have a political dialogue on sustainability related issues”. Hence he insisted that the deal gives the EU more influence in preventing deforestation in Brazil.

The Trade and sustainable development (TSD) chapter 10 of the agreement includes indeed Articles on biodiversity, environment and climate, which state that each Party shall effectively implement the Paris Agreement, which both blocs signed. Nevertheless there are today no further concrete instructions or control/reporting mechanisms on the ‘how’ part within the Agreement. The Paris Agreement includes a pledge to stop illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2030, but the opposite is happening.

Due to their importance to the Earth’s ecosystem, rainforests like the Amazon, Borneo or the Congo Basin are a universal common good and concern of all humanity and should be preserved accordingly. 11

Accordingly, if the EU wishes to be a world leader in fighting climate change it must do more.

One way is to explicitly declare and follow-up its ‘zero-deforestation’ policy and commit to a ‘zero-deforestation’ supply chain. For that, it needs to find a way to:

  •  value the preservation of rainforests more than the products that originate from its destruction.
  •  immediately stop imports of goods linked with deforestation, and put efficient safeguard mechanisms to be activated at any time by the EU on the basis of objective data and reports that the EU should revisit every 6 months.

Both for its imports of biofuels and feedstocks used for biofuel production in the EU and for imports of agricultural and food products from areas at risk of deforestation, the European Union should build a robust system of deforestation free import certification, this certification being the first sine qua non for authorization of entry of these products into the territory of the European Union.

Proposal for specific conditions for an efficient and trustworthy EU deforestation certification scheme (safeguard clause):

Every 6 months, the European Commission should present a report covering the trends related to deforestation and the expansion of deforestation risk related products into high carbon stock areas including forests and peatlands. The European Commission should be empowered to trigger a safeguard clause allowing the European Union to suspend the deforestation free certificates in regions or countries, where deforestation is observed. The safeguard clause should be applied at an appropriate geographic level in order to cover indirect effects and potential market transfers.

This would mean that products in zones that have proven on-going deforestation (‘red zones’) should then be blacklisted and EU customs should block the imports from those regions/products. In order to be consistent with the principle that the EU shall not make any compromises on the issue of deforestation no exemptions shall be given to such products. This would require an improved system of information and transparency.

For proving such practices field inspections would be almost impossible to carry out. Therefore the unbiased monitoring of forest cover change through satellite imagery seems to be the most appropriate methodology to follow deforestation, degradation and the state of the forests. Such technologies have been developed by European companies such as Copernicus or Starling, used in particular by companies as part of their Zero Deforestation commitments.

The EU could accept, and even support, equivalent systems to monitor deforestation implemented by the concerned countries, if those are also based on objective and verifiable satellite imagery and open to auditing. This would represent a welcome step towards empowering countries where deforestation has been a plague to take the matter on their hands and implement the appropriate mix of control, economic, social and environmental policies to halt deforestation and forest degradation. In this context the EU could also support measures that aim at increasing agriculture productivity, which would ultimately reduce the economic and social pressure to deforestation and use of peatlands.

The EU needs to step up its game to turn words into concrete actions with effectively working measures – starting by stopping the importation of deforestation sourced products – if it wishes to honour its pledge to halt deforestation by 2020 as stated in the New York Declaration on Forests12 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Goal Number 15.2).

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1 http://terrabrasilis.dpi.inpe.br/app/dashboard/alerts/legal/amazon/aggregated/

2 FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015

3The State of the World’s Forests 2018 – Forest pathways to sustainable development. FAO (2018)

http://www.fao.org/3/I9535EN/i9535en.pdf

4https://firms.modaps.eosdis.nasa.gov/map/
5 “The Last Stand of the Orangutan- State of Emergency: Illegal Logging, Fire and Palm Oil in Indonesia’s National Parks http://wedocs.unep.org/xmlui/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/7524/- The%20Last%20Stand%20of%20the%20Orangutan- %20%20State%20of%20Emergency_%20Illegal%20Logging%2c%20Fire%20and%20Palm%20Oil%2 0in%20Indonesia%27s%20National%20Parks-2007756.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y
6European Commission: Report on the on the status of production expansion of relevant food and feed crops worldwide (2019) https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/report.pdf

7https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/direct-losses-from-weather-disasters- 3/assessment-2
8 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2017-0098_EN.pdf
9 Feasibility study on options to step up EU action against deforestationhttps://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/pdf/KH0418199ENN2.pdf

10 EU-Mercosur Agreement – Trade and sustainable development chapter

https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2019/july/tradoc_158166.%20Trade%20and%20Sustainable%2 0Development.pdf

11http://www.fao.org/3/I9535EN/i9535en.pdf

12 https://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/Environment%20and%20Energy/Forests/New%20Yo rk%20Declaration%20on%20Forests_DAA.pdf

Wine sector: What did we miss during the just ended Summer Break?

Here below a quick “catch-up exercise” with latest news and market insights from the wine sector.

First of all, on 1 July 2019 the full text of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement (reached on 28 June 2019) was published. Wine is amongst the key agri-food products of EU export interest which would be liberalized. Furthermore, provisions covering recognition of winemaking practices, certification and labelling are included in the agreement.

On 15-19 July 2019 in Geneva, more than 600 government officials, international national experts and professionals met for the annual gathering of the World Congress of Vine and Wine 2019 to discuss and reflect on the most pressing current issues in viticulture, oenology and overall the viticultural economy.

The OIV 2019 report on the world vitivinicultural situation was also released. To note that world wine production saw a 17% increase in 2018 compared to the previous year (a total of 292 million hl). On the consumption side, overall a slight growth since 2014 has to be reported (246 milllion hl in 2018) even though in the EU it has stabilized during the last years.

Furthermore, after a 2018 record-harvest (292 million hl), recent extreme weather conditions (i.e. alternation of spring frost and summer catastrophic heat waves) impacted heavily  the 2019 harvest forecasts, notably for Italy, where a decline of 10% in comparison with 2018 has been estimated. Same goes for France – a wine output fall of an average of 12% in 2019 was predicted by the Agriculture Ministry’s Statistic Unit (AGRESTE).

In terms of wine market dynamics, the last months saw overall an increase in Australian & Chilean wine exports and a sharp slowdown in Chinese wine imports.

 

full note available on FE members area

Improve the link between Science, innovation, agriculture and food

Today, the agri-food sectors are more than ever confronted with 3 major demands from our society:

  • To provide safe and quality foodnot only to European citizens but as well to world markets,
  • To keep rural areas lively and viable. This means, first and foremost to maintain and develop a profitable farming activity in all rural areas across the EU.
  • To optimize the good management of the environmentand to fight more effectively against climate change and risks linked to wider and wider spread diseases. 

Being able to answer jointly to these three challenges is for sure a challenge itself, but a feasible one, if we accept to make effective use of science and concentrate our efforts on double performance: economic performance and environmental performance.

This is the very basic condition of any success of the EU and the EU agriculture to ensure both growth and jobs and better environment.

For more than a decade, the global productivity growth of the EU farming sector has halved. During this decade, the capital productivity of this sector has become negative. According to the EU Commission, this trend would result in a new decrease by 14% of the EU agri incomes in the next 10 years.

It is time now to reinvest in innovation and research, to reinvest in genetics and develop a concrete science-based approach in that respect.

In this framework, objectivity and transparency will be key.

To reach this objective, we need to change our attitude, to live in our time and consider what science tells us, and not what some say that science could tell.

This is true when it comes to precision and smart farming and how policies (and notably the CAP) can incentivize the move of the EU agriculture to a modern, a more eco-environmentally efficient agriculture.

This is true as well when it comes to geneticsNew breeding techniquesare promising as modern and faster extension of usual traditional breeding techniques delivering both in environment, nutrition and economy.

These New Plant-Breeding Techniques, which have emerged as the result of advances in scientific research, enable more precise and faster changes in the plant’s genome than conventional plant breeding techniques, which use chemical and radiation processes to alter the genetic characteristics of plants.

New Plant Breeding Techniques are currently in an uncertain situation regarding their legal classification, as there is urgent to decide on how these practices should be regulated and whether they (or some of them) should or shouldn’t fall within the scope of the EU GMO legislation.

As it is scientifically demonstrated that NBTs such as CRISPR-Cas9 are not GMOs, the new EP should strive to ensure its classification as a non-GMO technique.

 

FOOD CHAIN, NUTRITION AND WELLBEING.

 

The European food chain is facing a big challenge, which is to find a harmonious and positive relationship between diet and health. This is mainly due to the fact that, the EU agro food model is constantly evolving and improving, and its relationship with health issues is becoming growingly important. This is a key challenge for the future of both agriculture and food industry.

The relationship between science and innovation on one hand and agriculture and food on the other and is perceived mostly in negative terms, or at least in a quite unidirectional way – nutritionissues –, putting aside other elements as important as culture and traditions, sociology, employment and economics, internal market principles, environment, genetics, lifestyles.

Much of the discussions around the issue are quite polarized, sterile and more based in opinions than in science, which doesn’t help any progress on what can be considered the common goal: how to better integrate food and health for the benefit of consumers and society as a whole.

In order to prevent the negative effect of NCD ́s public authorities try to promote different policies and actions with a dubious impact.

If we put it into a European perspective, we have to realize that we participate in a sort of “collage” of measures, mixing European and national initiatives, in different areas, with different aims and ways, that need to be reconsidered. Examples are: national taxes, prohibition of sales, limits to advertising, traffic lights systems (U.K.) as well as French nutriscore model.

Internal market principles – the basis of European integration– have been side-linedwith direct impact on business, free circulation, competition and consumer welfare.

On the prominent role of science: improvements made in terms of food safety in Europe in the last 15 years have to be acknowledged. Both EFSA and the Commission have delivered a sound set of criteria that have created a strong consensus around the best science to inform food safety – and a comprehensive system to evaluate and manage risks.

Science is critical not only because it leads the way for improving human wellbeing, but also because evidence based science orients political action– or at least should-.

Science is far more than a single discipline. The present “nutrimania” simply puts aside other fields of knowledge like sociology, genetics, physical activity or environment, while multifactorial problems need multidisciplinary approaches. Even when it comes to nutrition focus is more on products (“good” or “bad”) than in diets itself. And as a matter of fact “ we eat food, not nutritiens”.

Having said that, the question would be how can Europe improve its decision making in order to take any political action on evidence based science?   How can we avoid science to be substituted by opinion when informing political and legal decisions?

– First of all, we need more confidence in our institutions. EFSA must continue to be seen as the reference for excellence in science and food and at the same time, it must be able to better coordinate national Agencies in his effort to align criteria and inform action.

– Another issue: misinterpretation of complex information and a great deal of news and sources makes really difficult to avoid confusion and distress in the public opinion.

– Finally, the way in which debate takes place is not the most constructive one. It seems that each stakeholder sticks to its own position being more interested in counter-arguments and defending specific interests that in finding ways to progress against NCDs through co- operation.
Today, it is urgent to open a debate with all stakeholders and get a broad agreement oncommon objectives: a better and sound healthy lifestyle in Europe, and a firm contribution from the food chain – it is crucial to understand that this is a common issue in which all the members of the chain (consumers, farmers, industry and trade) must work together and united.

At the same, it would be useful to enlarge the role of EFSA to informing the public on where the science stands on key issues. If the objective is to build confidence and a trusty and efficient European legislative framework, one of the challenges is indeed to fight relentlessly baseless « opinions ».

ENVIRONMENT AND AGRICULTURE

 

  • The EU has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. Agriculture and agro-forestry have an important role to play to sequester and store carbon, and there is scope to reduce emissions using more efficient and sustainable production methods.
  • Also reducing water pollution, soil erosion and preserving biodiversity can greatly benefit from these new production methods.
  • Better farming systems that efficiently use nutrient resources exist, enhancing not only soil carbon but also biodiversity and improving resilience of farming to climate change itself. These measures typically increase productivity, reduce input needs, and other environmental pressures such as eutrophication and air pollution.
  • Digitalisation and smart technologies are the basis for precision farming and precision agriculture optimising fertiliser and plant protection products application.
  • The EU needs a “Marshall Plan” to encourage its farmers to shift to precision and digital agriculture through an ambitious program for investing in a double performance (environmental and economic) farming system – under the Pillar I Eco-Scheme in the CAP reform proposal.
  • The new European Parliament should seize this opportunity to craft the new Eco-scheme to include support for farmers to move towards more sustainable production methods that reduce the environmental footprint, whilst at the same time improving economic performance. This dual performance production methods provide a brighter outlook for farmers and the environment.

AGRICULTURE ECONOMIC CHALLENGES

 

Farmers’ incomes, productivity and investment

  • The agriculture sector is facing severe headwinds. Farmers’ incomes have stagnated, and according to the European Commission forecasts they are bound to drop by a staggering 14% (in real terms) in the next decade, taking into account the European Commission initial Common Agriculture Policy reform proposals.
  • Productivity is also on the way down, by 10% on capital and input productivity; only labour productivity is increasing as a result of lower employment in agriculture.
  • The sector faces increased international competition and without significant productivity gains exports of agri-food products will suffer.
  • One of the key problems is lack of investment, in particular on investment that boost productivity and leads to increased farmers’ incomes; on top of that the adoption of new technologies is slow, and the EU is lagging behind its main competitors in smart and precision farming, using digital and other new technologies, which reduce the environmental footprint whilst increasing productivity and incomes.
  • The new Common Agriculture policy should be an opportunity to support farmers willing to make the transition towards smart agriculture, by providing incentives to invest in smart farming in both pillars: in the “eco-scheme” chapter of the first pillar, and devoting a wring fenced share of the second pillar to support these double-performance new type of investments.

 

The resilience of the sector to cope with market and climatic crisis

  • Agriculture faces a repetition of crisis, including sustained very low prices, high volatility and extreme climatic events, but the Common Agriculture Policy is not adequately tooled to provide adequate responses and increase the resilience of the sector.
  • To build on the recent progress made to support income stabilization tools and climatic insurance, the new Common Agriculture Policy should integrate a new Crisis Fund with a two-fold mission: to quickly finance, in the event of a crisis, exceptional market measures and intervention measures, as well as to automatically take over risk management measures of the income stabilization tools, as soon as indicators have reached pre-defined thresholds.
  • The new Crisis Fund should replace the current reserve fund, which is not really operational, building on its 400 million euros allocation to reach 1.5 billion euros (either by a single initial financial allocation or by recourse to annually un-used and recovered funds).

BIOFUELS AND AGRICULTURE

  • Biofuels produced from EU feedstock (mostly from colza, maize , sugar beet and wheat) generates at least 6.6 billion euros of direct revenue for EU farmers.
  • In addition, the bioethanol industry is said to have created70 000 direct and indirect jobs since the EU introduced its biofuels policy, while thebiodiesel sector has generated 220 000 direct and indirect jobs in the EU biodiesel production
  • European sourced biofuels have not displaced food and feed production, and have had no real impact on prices. On the contrary, biofuels have helped in limiting the adverse effects of the food markets U-turn, offering some economic stability to struggling EU farmers.
  • There is another very important positive impact of biofuels production in the EU – the production of protein feed as a by-product. Europe is still dependent for 70% of soybean meal imports to meet its growing livestock demand. The EU biofuels industry processing rapeseed and cereals now produces approximately 13 million tons annually of high protein meals that otherwise would be imported from the Americas.
  • EU origin biofuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions now by over 60%, and the savings are to increase in the upcoming years. They achieve this important environmental goals without any negative collateral effects – be it on deforestation, or on food and feed production.
  • EU origin biofuels are thus clearly different from palm oil, whose expansion has been a main driver for deforestation and peat land degradation in South East Asia.
  • The EU has just adopted a revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED2) that aims at curbing deforestation due to the production of high risk biofuels like palm oil for use in EU biofuels. It establishes a freeze and then a phasing-out of these biofuels.
  • However the revised RED2 also allows certified low-risk palm oil to get into the EU biofuels. The Commission has adopted a Delegated Act that has still too many loopholes, the risk being that palm oil use in EU biofuels will continue to grow. The main loopholes are loose criteria for “small holders”, lack of guarantees on checking fraud, and no link whatsoever to actual deforestation.
  • The new European Parliament should ask the Commission to close these loopholes by an implementing regulation, and closely monitor the evolution of imports of palm oil and of deforestation in the exporting countries.

MEPs in the European Parliament – 9th parliamentary term

MEPs in the European Parliament

9th parliamentary term

2019 – 2024

 

2019 July

 

The European Parliament, which has come out of the polls on May 26, will be responsible for guiding the European agricultural and agri-food sectors for the next decade. In this context it has to define a framework that meets the dual challenges to become more sustainable and more profitable.

 

Table of contents

 

INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

COMAGRI……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9

EPP………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

S&D…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14

Greens-EFA………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 16

ALDE (Renew Europe)……………………………………………………………………………………….. 17

GUE/NGL…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 19

ECR…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 19

Identity and Democracy (ex-ENF)………………………………………………………………………… 20

Others – Non-attached Members…………………………………………………………………………. 20

Other MEPs with agri affiliation……………………………………………………………………………. 20

ComAGRI MEPs:………………………………………………………………………………………………. 21

COMENVI…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 23

EPP………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 25

S&D…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 26

Greens……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26

ALDE (Renew Europe)……………………………………………………………………………………….. 27

GUE/NGL…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 27

ECR…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 27

Identity and Democracy (ex-ENF)………………………………………………………………………… 28

ComENVI MEPs:……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 28

Energy: Agriculture as an energy provider…………………………………………………………… 33

AGRI………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 36

ENVI………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 37

ITRE…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 39

TRAN……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 40

Wine: EU bodies dealing with wine at European Parliament and Council’s levels…. 42

ANNEX I………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 45

ANNEX II……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 50

 

full note available on FE members area

FARM EUROPEis a think tank that aims to stimulate thinking on rural economies. It focuses on all policy areas that impact on rural business, with a strong emphasis on agriculture and food policies, and especially the Common Agricultural Policy, which is the main public lever to act at the European level. Its main policy areas include: Agriculture; Food; Environment, Trade and Energy.

Which CAP for the European Union in the 21st century?

Common Agricultural Policy

Which CAP for the European Union in the 21st century?

 

The Common Agricultural Policy was founded to respond to the challenge of food sovereigntyin Europe, on the basis of the fact that a pooling of financial means and the definition of common political guidelines are more effective than the sum of potentially divergent national initiatives.

This investment policy of Europe in its future has met the expectations in terms of agricultural production, both in quantity and in quality. 

Food security remains today the prerequisite for an area to have a strong and credible political strategy in today’s multipolar world.

In a globalized world where food security for all should be guaranteed, the European Union is also responsible for ensuring the sustainability of a stable presence in global food markets.

At the same time, the CAP has evolved to respond more to the challenges of vitality in Europe’s rural areas and to the preservation of the environment with the fight against climate change.

As a base for developing rural areas, managing 75% of Europe and our natural resources, European agriculture is a key factor in this area and farmers are the only reliable relays for effective action.

Today, the CAP must aim to meet the objectives of:

  • Ensuring the food security of Europeans and enabling European citizens to have access to quality food at affordable prices
  • Ensuring a correct level of income for farmers even as the volatility of agricultural markets have increased considerably since the mid-2000s under the combined effect of climate change and the globalization of these markets
  • Preserving the environment, soil, air and water while contributing to the fight against climate change.
  • Keeping the European Union as the world’s largest exporter – the EU is also the world’s largest importer of agricultural and food goods,
  • Maintaining a strong agricultural network, a basis of territorial development of agro-food activities and local economic development in all European regions

Through its successive reforms, the CAP has sought to respond to its challenges one after the other but ultimately treating them separately from one another.

For the lack of a sufficient vision, the societal challenges have been partially addressed by normative stacks while the economic challenges have largely been left fallow.

The challenge for those who will have to decide on future European policies having an impact on agriculture and rural areas of the European Union, is not only to reconcile societal expectations and economic challenges but to put them in synergy by focusing the CAP on the challenge of the dual performance of our agriculture: no economy without more environmental, no environment without economic benefit.

For this, the CAP must become again an investment policy of the European Union in its future and centered its actions on:

  • the investments and innovations in farms and the food chain; agricultural sectors need to seize digital opportunities quickly both for their relationships with consumers and their economic and environmental performance.
  • the incentive for a transition of European agriculture towards dual performance agricultural systems such as integrated agriculture, digital agriculture, organic farming or conservation agriculture,
  • securing European farmers against risks and crises by combining basic direct aid, support for climate risk insurance tools and mutual funds for income stabilization and an effective European crisis management reserve
  • the promotion of a quality European food model, diversified for all European citizens.

6 safety-cones to secure a more efficient and truly common CAP

CAP reform  

In view of the Commission’s proposal,

6 safety-cones

to secure a more efficient and truly common CAP

 

 

A CAP reform proposed by Commissioner Hogan centered on a new governance that confuses flexibilities and renationalization…

 

The reform proposal presented by the Commission on the 1stof June 2018 is above all a proposal for an administrative reform of the CAP. However, the proposed new implementation model would have very strong policy implications by splitting the CAP into 27 national agricultural policies (or more with regionalized agricultural policy strands), by simplifying management for Commission services but increasing the burden for the Member States without any simplification for farmers.

The Commission proposal proposes to each Member State to build its own agricultural policy by defining the eligibility rules, the requirements linked to the different measures that the CAP can fund, its control and penalty policy, as well as its levels of ambitions – essentially environmental – to reach. On this basis, the Commission would have the power to approve or reject these national policies, taking over most of the powers of the co-legislators in terms of guidance and construction of the CAP without, however, being able to withstand the will of strong governments.

While Member States would have full discretion on how to use 98% of CAP funds, two farmers with similar farms in border regions would face different economic environments and ecological requirements, whereas today the CAP establishes a common base of rules but also use of almost 2/3 of the funds of the 1st pillar of the CAP (direct aids). Agricultural markets would quickly become a battleground within the European Union to the detriment of the single market. For some, the reduction of environmental ambition would be a temptation to offer an economic advantage to their sectors.

With this proposal, the Commission says it wants to encourage the Member States when drafting their national agricultural (political) strategies to make more consistent use of the support of the first pillar of the CAP and the second pillar (rural development) and move from a ‘compliance policy’ to a ‘performance policy’ based on achievements and outcome indicators.

While these two objectives are laudable, the presented proposal however does not make it possible to achieve them: the first will be subject to the good will and priorities of various governments, the second would be to be in a position to measure both the economic and the environmental impact of the implemented measures within the framework of the CAP and not – as proposed by the Commission – to be limited to only counting the number of hectares or farmers concerned by such or such a measure without their impact being otherwise assessed in upstream.

 

… 6 safety-cones for a more effective and truly common PAC.

Given the societal, economic and environmental challenges to be met, the European Union needs a CAP that is strong, effective, common and adapted to the realities of a European Union rich in its diversity.

1       Put in place key parameters in basic acts at a common level: minimum level for basic income support

2       Give a European dimension to the ”Eco-Scheme”, concentrating the measures to be proposed by the Member States on the promotion of innovative tools and practices able to encourage the environmental and economic transition of European agriculture

3       Promote the economic dimension of the CAP with a minimum financial objective for risk management tools and for economic and environmental performance investments

4       Define a European reference environmental basis for the ‘super’ conditionality with the possibility for Member States and farmers to propose equivalent measures where it is more appropriate

5       Build an effective and well-financed crisis reserve with guarantees that the European Commission will react without delay in the event of serious market disruption

6       No approval process by the European Commission on the elements agreed by the co-legislators and included in the EU legal framework

In recognition of the important issue of deeply rectifying the Commission’s proposal, the Members of the Agriculture Committee of the outgoing European Parliament (Comagri) adopted a large number of amendments in order to put in place these 6 safety markers and start to give them life in the draft CAP regulations.

It will be up to the next Parliament and its elected representatives to build this efficient Common Agricultural Policy, which is the driving force behind the establishment of dual performance agriculture across the entire European territory in order so that:

  • the European Union resumes its place in the ‘world concert’,
  • European citizens find themselves in their agriculture and in the CAP,
  • farmers find a strength of ambition and a protective environment with the European Union.

 

The amendments adopted by the outgoing Comagri go in the right direction. They are a first step.

The next Parliament will be responsible for deciding on the CAP that will guide the agricultural sectors for the next decade.

 

To put European agriculture back in a position to successfully project, the work of this Comagri will have to be deepened so that:

  • the CAP can be a tool of real incentive to investments of double – environmental and economic – performance,
  • and that transition to these new modes of virtuous production, notably based on digital and new technologies, being a central element of the “eco-scheme” measure of the 1st pillar and investments of the second pillar.

 

Analysis of the flexibilities proposed by the Commission

 

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Functioning of the CAP:

 

  • Functioning of the current CAP:

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  • Commission’s proposal for a new operation of the CAP:

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