CAP not fit for purpose, says new report

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is not fit for purpose, according to a new study co-commissioned by the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. The study, produced in cooperation with the Socialists and Democrats group and a range of environmental NGOs and universities, was initiated after the European Commission failed to produce its own fitness check on the CAP.

The key findings of the report, for which the authors assessed 450 peer reviewed scientific papers, are:

  • The socio-economic efficiency of the CAP is very low. The decrease in numbers of agricultural holdings continues, with a trend towards large-scale farms. With 32% of payments going to 1.5% of farms, the CAP provides insufficient support to small farms.
  • The CAP is largely inefficient regarding its environmental objectives. The CAP does not halt, let alone reverse, ongoing trends of agricultural intensification, abandonment, environmental degradation and biodiversity decline. It has a very limited effect on climate change mitigation.

Molly, who sits on the Agriculture Committee in the European Parliament, responded:

“There needs to be a major change in direction if the CAP is to be made fit for purpose. With CAP spending amounting to nearly sixty billion euros per year, it should be a major driver of socio-economic progress. But with far too much money going into the hands of far too few farmers, it is failing to deliver on its potential. We need a clear commitment to small and medium sized agriculture, and action to stop the expansion of corporate-controlled mega-farms which drain our local economies.

“The CAP is also failing our environment. Europe needs an agricultural policy that will help farms make the transition to animal-friendly and greener production.

Earlier this year, Molly launched two reports she commissioned on the potential for a new direction for farming post-Brexit. She said:

“Michael Gove has promised a Green Brexit. If this is to mean anything it must include maintaining or increasing the amount currently received by farmers through the CAP. But this investment must be retargeted towards rewarding farmers not landowners and focused on providing funding for advice, training and farmer-led research and innovation. In particular we need to see farmers supported as they move away from chemical-intensive farming towards methods that produce healthy and safe foods while protecting the soil and increasing biodiversity.”


The study: Is the CAP Fit for purpose? was commissioned and funded by: BirdLife Europe; the European Environmental Bureau (EEB); Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU); the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ; the University of Göttingen; and the Greens/EFA and Socialists & Democrats groups in the European Parliament. A full briefing can be found here.