Faced with agricultural anger, the European Union adopts a revision of the CAP, less ecologically ambitious

The 27 member states of the European Union agreed on Tuesday in Brussels to remove some of the “green” criteria imposed on farmers since 2023.


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Farmers demonstrated in Brussels in front of the headquarters of the European Commission, March 26, 2024. (SHUTTERSTOCK/SIPA / SIPA)

Abandonment of compulsory fallows, hedges, controls… The 27 Member States of the European Union approved on Tuesday March 26 a revision of the common agricultural policy, unraveling its environmental rules, as proposed by the European Commission in mid-March after the mobilization of farmers in several countries. They also discussed ways to boost farmers’ income, while clashes broke out between demonstrators and police in Brussels.

Part of the “green” criteria that the new Common Agricultural Policy has imposed on farms since 2023 have therefore been removed. These revisions include the removal of the obligation to leave at least 4% of arable land fallow or non-productive areas. Another change, the obligation of crop rotation will be replaced by a simple “diversification”, the maintenance of permanent meadows will be considerably relaxed and, in the event of extreme climatic episodes, exemptions will be possible to avoid penalties. Finally, farms of less than 10 hectares would be exempt from controls linked to environmental rules.

These revisions will then have to be examined urgently by MEPs. The European Commission also unveiled a “road map” proposing the creation of an “observatory” on production prices and an evaluation of existing rules on unfair commercial practices, without new legislative proposals for the moment.

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