CONCORD warns MEPs not to ignore development issues in CAP ahead of a vote in Strasbourg.

(Brussels, 07/03/2013) The European Parliament risks continuing the Common Agricultural Policy’s negative impacts in developing countries by failing to incorporate development concerns in its last vote on future EU farm policy on 12 March in Strasbourg.

Commenting ahead of the vote was Olivier Consolo, Director of Concord, the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs:

“Some EU policies like the CAP can have huge impacts overseas. The EU has a legal obligation to make its policies coherent with development objectives*. Yet the CAP continues to overlook the damaging role it has in developing countries. MEPs now have a last chance to bring the CAP into the 21st century and make it a sustainable policy. The CAP needs to end export refunds and introduce a crop rotation system to reduce its negative impacts on poor farmers in developing countries.”

The old CAP that hurts the poor

The current version of the CAP has no external impact monitoring system, despite evidence that shows the negative impacts of EU farm policy overseas.

CONCORD’s Spotlight Report on EU Policy Coherence for Development shows that:

• The use of protein animal feed for European farms requires 16 million hectares of land in South America which is having a negative environmental impact.

• In total, European agriculture requires 35 million hectares of land in developing countries exacerbating land grabbing and resource scarcity.

• The EU Parliament criticised the use of export refunds in 2009 as “a blatant violation of the core principles of policy coherence for development”, yet the latest proposals from the EU Parliament would keep them in place.

What Development NGOs want to see in the CAP

• A regular and independent monitoring mechanism to measure the external impacts of the CAP

• Prioritisation of crop rotation

• End of dumping of EU subsidized agricultural products exports into developing countries

• More environmentally sustainable agricultural production

MEPs are voting in plenary on reforms tabled by the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee which has ignored the expertise of their colleagues in both the Commission and the Parliament’s environmental and development committees by refusing to make the CAP more sustainable and development friendly. CAP reform must still go to a vote in the EU Council of Agricultural Ministers as the CAP is decided between the EU Parliament and EU Council of Agricultural Ministers.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  1. * “The Union shall take account of the objectives of development co-operation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries” Article 208 of the Lisbon Treaty. This is known as Policy Coherence for Development which is about ensuring that the aims and objectives of EU development co-operation policy are not undermined by other EU policies, such as those on climate, trade, energy, agriculture, migration, and finance matters. These issues are highlighted in CONCORD’s report.
  2. CONCORD recently addressed MEPs on the issue of food security and the CAP on 18 February. More info: http://www.concordeurope.org/215-ngos-urge-development-friendly-agriculture
  3. Agriculture accounts for between 30% to 60% of GDP and up to 70% of employment in the Least Developed Countries’ (LDC)47. Research shows that agricultural development in poor countries is three to four times more effective in alleviating poverty than growth in other sectors and that one Euro increased income in agriculture generates between two and three Euros in their GDP. Source CONCORD report on PCD: http://www.concordeurope.org/83-spotlight-on-policy-coherence-for-development-2011
  4. CONCORD is the European NGO confederation for relief and development. CONCORDs 26 national associations and 18 international networks represent over 1,600 NGOs which are supported by millions of citizens across Europe. CONCORD leads reflection and political actions and regularly engages in dialogue with the European institutions and other civil society organisations. http://www.concordeurope.org