Home » News » Peatlands » Climate mitigation and adaptation » #WithdrawTheCAP

On 23 October 2020, after an intense week of voting sessions where the green architecture of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)  was dismantled vote after vote, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) agreed on the final text. It will be negotiated during the trialogue meetings (interinstitutional, tripartite meetings) with the European Council and Commission. Sadly, the current proposal of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as voted by the European Parliament, will contribute to further degradation of precious ecosystems, like peatlands.

Despite the recognition of paludiculture as an agricultural practice eligible for direct payments, which we applaud,  the main failure remains that farmers are not incentivised to protect peatlands, but to keep them drained. Drained peatlands contribute to 25% of total emissions from EU agriculture and agricultural land use (part of the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry sector) while covering only 3% of the EU agricultural land, making Europe one of the largest emitter of GHG from drained peatlands, after Indonesia.

Wetlands International joined 26 NGOs in the call for the withdraw of the CAP proposal by sending a letter to the President of  the European Commission, Von der Leyen on 30th October. We considered that the positions agreed in the European Parliament and Council on the CAP, work against the EU Green Deal (and the associated Farm-to-Fork and Biodiversity Strategies) for the following reasons:

  • They allow billions of harmful subsidies, which EU just pledged to phase out in the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, and which should have already been phased out by 2020 according to EU’s International commitments. For example, the positions seriously erode the basic ‘do-no-harm’ baseline (conditionality); increase production (coupled) payments, and remove safeguards such as on irrigation expansion;
  • They limit the climate, environmental, animal welfare and public health ambition, allowing or even requiring Member States to put most of the funds into subsidising business as usual (or potentially worse) practices;
  • They explicitly rule out a link with the objectives of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies.

The first trialogue meeting is taking place on 10 November with Executive Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Wojciechowski representing the Commission. The EC’s president has decided not to withdraw the proposal, so far. While negotiations move forward in Brussels, EU Member States need to write their own CAP Strategic Plans, envisaging climate and environmental friendly agricultural plans.

We still hope that the President of the European Commission will consider the possibility to withdraw the proposal and draft a new one. In the meantime we will be monitoring the negotiations, engaging with relevant actors explaining the reason why it is fundamental to:

  • Protect wetlands
  • Rehabilitate and restore degraded peatlands to prevent not only climate damages, but also fire hazards, (when drained), flooding (due to land subsidence), droughts
  • Incentivise successful peatland conservation measures that promote productive agricultural use of peatlands without draining

Find the full joint letter to the European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen:

The final proposals approved by the European Parliament can be found here

Common agricultural policy – support for strategic plans to be drawn up by Member States and financed by the EAGF and by the EAFRD ***I

Common agricultural policy: financing, management and monitoring ***I

Common agricultural policy – amendment of the CMO and other Regulations ***I

What is a trialogue?

Trilogues are informal tripartite meetings on legislative proposals between representatives of the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Their purpose is to reach a provisional agreement on a text acceptable to both the Council and the Parliament. Find out more here

Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies

EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030– a comprehensive, ambitious, long-term plan for protecting nature and reversing the degradation of ecosystems.

EU Farm to Fork Strategy is at the heart of the European Green Deal aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly



Photo by Richard Dykes on Unsplash