EU Parliament votes for controversial agricultural reform. 387 billion euros are to flow into agriculture: the European Parliament has approved the agricultural policy for the next seven years – despite strong criticism from climate protectors.
EU Parliament votes for controversial agricultural reform
The European Parliament has agreed on a position for the planned billion-dollar EU agricultural reform. A majority of MPs voted in favor.
Like the Agriculture Ministers, who decided their position on Wednesday after two days of negotiations, Parliament was in principle in favor of maintaining the current system, which is based primarily on area-dependent direct payments for farms. More than ever, the funds are to be tied to environmental requirements.
About 30 percent of the direct payments should only be paid out if the farmers participate in environmental programs, so-called eco-schemes. The agreement of the agriculture ministers provides for 20 percent here. They had already agreed on a line on Wednesday.
Agricultural subsidies are the largest item in the EU budget. The EU countries have earmarked around 387 billion euros for the next seven years. In 2018, the EU Commission proposed a reform for the years 2021 to 2027. Because there is already a transition phase until 2021 and 2022, something will not change until 2023.
Strong criticism comes from environmentalists
Environmental activists and conservationists had criticized the plans in advance. Greenpeace agriculture expert Lasse van Aken called the compromise “greenwashing of the worst kind” – that is, the attempt to give the reform an environmentally friendly face without good reasons for doing so. “Most of the taxpayers’ money continues to flow as direct payments, from which large companies in particular benefit,” said van Aken.
The WWF declared that the reform would “become a disaster for nature and climate protection”. The Union’s agriculture ministers continued the “destructive policy of subsidies in favor of large agricultural corporations.” Europe’s nature is in a miserable state and the extinction of species on Europe’s meadows and fields is advancing, according to the WWF.