EU budget leaves environment in the cold

The European Commission has slashed funding earmarked for environmental protection in a draft seven-year EU budget released today
calendar icon 3 May 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

The Commission has removed dedicated environmental funding under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is the biggest part of the EU budget, accounting for almost 40 percent of the EU’s expenditure.

The proposal by the European Commission for the next multi-annual financial framework (MFF) clearly demonstrates that there is hardly any ambition of the EU to lead on delivering international agreements such as the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Under the current budget (2014-2020), 30 percent of direct CAP payments to farmers (which make up about 80 percent of CAP funding) is conditional on meeting minimum environmental standards. This is by far the largest EU funding stream dedicated to environmental protection, and has now been removed from the EU budget.

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said:

“It’s shocking that the Commission hasn’t ring-fenced money for environmental protection in the EU’s direct payments to farmers, especially considering the damage done by industrial farming.

"The EU is already lagging behind in its commitments to tackle climate change, water and air pollution, and environmental destruction – to have nothing set aside to address these failures in its single largest expenditure is unacceptable. European governments and the EU Parliament need to fix this budget so that the EU can back up its promises for greener and fairer farming.”

The EU budget, known as the Multiannual Financial Framework, outlines the total budget of the European Union for the next seven years (2021-2027) and allocates funds to different sectors and policies.

Dr Andrea Kohl, Acting Director of WWF’s European Policy Office, spoke on the matter:

“This budget proposal is a slap in the face to anyone who expected the EU to be a global leader on environment, nature protection and climate change.

“It beggars belief that so little attention is paid to combatting climate change and addressing the loss of biodiversity at at a time in which the world is finally fully realising the environmental crisis facing our planet. How is the Commission planning to square this budget with its international commitments such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement?”

Sources: Greenpeace; WWF

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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