On 25th June 2021, European negotiators came to an agreement on the reform of the 2023-2027 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Just as in the previous CAP reform, the outcome was hailed by the Agriculture Commissioner as “one of the most ambitious CAP reforms in history”, while the Council’s Portuguese Presidency team declared it paved “the way for a simpler, fairer and greener CAP that will provide a sustainable future for EU farmers and citizens”. In contrast, environmental NGOs unanimously criticised the deal, calling it “a free-for-all dressed up as system change”, “greenwashing”, and a “monumental failure of political leadership”. So, looking behind slogans and headlines, does the new EU Farm Policy measure up to the challenges facing agriculture in this crucial decade for action on the climate and biodiversity crises?
In this report, the EEB, BirdLife, and Greenpeace unpick the most important features of the new CAP and assess whether the content and governance of this new policy match up to 10 Tests for a Green Deal-compatible EU Farm Policy. With 8 tests ranking red and 2 ranking orange, the analysis is overwhelmingly negative. The EU framework for the new CAP is strikingly similar to the previous CAP which failed to deliver environmental improvements. As such, it does not provide the guarantees and safeguards that would bring this policy in line with the EU Green Deal, as it leaves Member States free to design national CAP Strategic Plans that largely maintain the status quo.