FRIENDS OF THE EARTH EUROPE

Press release
22 January 2003


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EUROPEAN COMMISSION LACKS COURAGE TO REFORM CAP

Environment, taxpayers and farmers all lose out in new proposals
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Friends of the Earth is very disappointed by the weak reforms
proposed today by the European Commission. Commissioner Fischler
has significantly weakened the Mid Term Review of the Common
Agricultural Policy compared to the proposals that were presented
on 10 July 2002.

European citizens have made clear that they want something in
return for the 45 billion Euro that is being channeled into
agriculture every year, but the Commission is unwilling to
propose real reform. The new goals of the CAP should be quality
food, sustainable farming, localisation and local diversity.

Rural Development: less and later
Commissioner Fischler fails to channel significant funds into the
second pillar of CAP. In his original proposal he intended to
channel 20% of first pillar money to Rural Development. Now only
6% will be transferred to the second pillar, and that transfer
will start only in 2006 instead of 2004. On top of that,
agri-environmental measures will now get lower priority in his
proposals. This is very bad news for the many farmers that want
to move into more sustainable farming.  It is also very bad news
for areas of high nature value where farmers act as environmental
stewards.

Cross Compliance: inadequate
More cross compliance is necessary. All CAP payments should be
conditional on strict environmental, animal welfare and food
safety standards. But the Commission intends to make payments
conditional on only part of current EU law. Not all of EU
environmental legislation is even included. Cross compliance
should at least include compliance with existing laws and should
aim to encourage even higher standards (e.g. reducing pesticide
use).

Ceiling of 300.000 Euro: dropped
In his original proposal, Commissioner Fischler intended to put a
300.000 ceiling per farm on CAP payments. This was already an
excessively high amount, but now the new proposal doesn't mention
any ceiling at all.  The European Commission has given in to
pressure from the big farmers.

Export subsidies: continue untouched
The EU must address one of the central flaws of the CAP namely
the goal of aligning farm gate prices to world market prices in
order to be competitive on the world market. World market prices
are artificially low because the agricultural superpowers (EU,
US) engage in dumping on the world market. Export subsidies have
to be abolished because they are damaging for developing
countries and they reward overproduction in Europe. A new CAP
should focus on localisation of consumption and production,
instead of pursuing the WTO goal of a single world hypermarket of
agriculture and food. And farmers should get a fair price for
their produce when they produce in a sustainable manner.

Farmers now have to swallow the worst parts of the original
proposals of Commissioner Fischler. The positive elements have
been significantly weakened, farm gate prices will be decreased,
and there will be hardly any more money for rural development and
organic farming.

Learn more about the Friends of the Earth Europe agriculture
campaign at
www.choosefoodchoosefarming.org

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