Brussels – Greenpeace activists installed a giant poisoned apple outside the European Parliament in Brussels, urging politicians in the parliament not to give farmers a poisoned gift by scrapping nature protection rules in the common agricultural policy (CAP). Members of the European Parliament are today deciding whether to rush through a vote on the European Commission’s plan to remove many of the environmental requirements farmers must meet to get EU funds. 

© Camille Delbos/Greenpeace

High-quality photographs of the protest are free to use here

Over three metres high, and spewing green smoke, the poisoned apple highlights that cutting nature protection hurts farmers, as scarce or polluted water, depleted soils, failing biodiversity and accelerating climate change all take their toll on our ability to produce food. Farmers have been protesting in recent months about their unsustainable income, as they are undercut by cheap products from more industrial producers outside Europe and squeezed by powerful food companies forcing prices lower. Greenpeace is warning that politicians are making nature protection rules the scapegoat for a problem caused by market forces and trade policy.

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “Farmers are rightfully furious. Small and medium farms are disappearing, eaten up by mega farms, as farmers are caught between cheap imports from outside the EU and unfair prices imposed by large market players. European politicians, unwilling to revise the EU’s unsustainable trade policy or stand up to the food corporation and chemical company bullies, are pretending nature protection on farms is the problem. Stripping away the last environmental protections is a poisoned gift for farmers, which will doom them to worse droughts, floods and failed harvests while doing nothing to address their precarious economic situation.”

In response to farmers’ protests, the European Commission has proposed removing many of the environmental requirements in the EU’s common agricultural policy. Agriculture ministers have already indicated that EU governments will support these plans to cut nature protections in the farm rules. The vote in the European Parliament today is to decide whether to fast-track the Parliament’s response to this proposal, skipping debates and votes in the Parliament’s committees, putting it immediately to a vote during the last plenary session before elections in June.

Next steps

If the Parliament votes to fast-track the proposal to loosen environmental requirements for farmers, then the whole Parliament will vote on the content of the Commission’s proposal during its last plenary session on 22-25 April .


Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director: +32 (0)477 777034, [email protected]  

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, [email protected]

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