For 56 years, European farming has been guided by the European Union’s common agricultural policy (CAP) and the subsidies it distributes to European farmers. The CAP currently accounts for almost 40 percent of the EU’s total budget – €59 billion in 2017.
As the EU carries out a policy review that will affect the CAP over the next seven years, there is concern that the interests of the agriculture industry could be given precedence over public health and the environment, and to the detriment of many European farmers. Greenpeace has investigated the farming links of members of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee (AGRI), which is a key player in the CAP negotiations.
The research found that a majority of AGRI committee members, 25 out of 46, have strong links to the agriculture sector, and four more MEPs have looser links. This farming expertise is of course important in the reform of the CAP, but it should not eclipse the input of other experts. Agriculture has a significant impact on the environment, public health, climate change, the economy and other sectors, and yet there is a danger that experts in these fields will be prevented from playing a meaningful role in the reform of the CAP.