Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife Europe, met with Rose O’Donovan – editor of Agra Facts / Agra Focus – at the 5th Forum for the Future of Agriculture, jointly organized by Syngenta and the European Landowners Organization (ELO), to discuss the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
BirdLife Europe’s Head of EU Policy outlines that the CAP post-2013 proposal seeks to link income support to ‘good agronomy’ requirements – a step welcomed by the environmental lobby group. When it comes to others measures introduced in the new agricultural policy proposal, Brunner is significantly less enthusiastic, as he largely considers them as “greenwash”. Measures such as crop diversification simply do not go far enough, he adds, favouring crop rotation instead. When it comes to the sustainable intensification of agriculture, Brunner believes that “if we take consumption as a given and just try to chase it with production we will go nowhere”.
With regard to the on-going CAP budget negotiations, the Head of EU Policy at BirdLife Europe is worried that the 2nd Pillar, which covers rural development, will be the first victim of budget cuts. The 1st pillar of CAP covers direct payments for famers, which come straight from Brussels. The second, on the other hand, needs to be co-financed by national governments. Given that almost all Member States are in the process of implementing austerity plans, Brunner believes that it is tempting for them to aggressively cut rural development funds which cover “more sophisticated & targeted” agri-environmental measures.