EU farming unions warn that new biodiversity strategy disregards realities on the ground
15 June 2021
While debating the European Union’s biodiversity policy, members of the European Parliament re-defined the concept of sustainability to focus more on environmental elements – but this could hamstring the agriculture sector’s ability to deliver on biodiversity targets.
Copa and Cogeca are disappointed by the European Parliament views on the biodiversity strategy approved during the Strasbourg plenary. The final text even proposed a redefinition of the key concept of sustainability, side-lining economic and social dimensions.
The text proposed by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee caused great concern in the farming and forestry community. No true solutions were presented to the sector on how to deliver important environmental benefits and priority was given to one of the three equally important pillars of sustainability.
Reacting to the outcome of the vote, Copa-Cogeca Secretary General Pekka Pesonen said, “Once again farmers are at the centre of an EU initiative and once more we are asked to do more with less. To enhance biodiversity, we should be very clear; we need more management in our countryside not less. By favoring one pillar of sustainability over the other, we are sending a highly demotivating message to farmers and foresters across the EU. The outcome contains inconsistencies, as is the case with PPPs. Farming is not an ideology, it is a vital part of society, providing crucial food, fibre and environmental services.”
Copa and Cogeca welcome the fact that most of the concrete amendments proposed by the Agriculture Committee have been approved in plenary. We welcome the call for the impact assessments on social and economic consequences that Copa and Cogeca, along with a good number of other value chain stakeholders, have called for since May 2020. Not assessing the consequences of one of the most important political initiatives, the European Green Deal and its Biodiversity Strategy, is a major failure of the EU itself.
Copa and Cogeca welcome the confirmation by MEPs of three key points that were supported by the farming community: the importance of the external trade dimension on complying with EU standards, the key role of the future EU Forest Strategy to strengthen sustainable forest management in a balanced manner and the need for a bigger toolbox of alternative, effective, affordable, and environmentally safe crop protection solutions.
We expect that the implementation of the strategy will focus on concrete solutions considering all dimensions of the biodiversity question including the potential effects of our food supply relocation.