258,708 citizens and 600 organisations said 'YES' to a Living Land!

The European Commission is currently preparing the reform of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This will decide the future of Europe's food and farming system.

They’ve recently closed major online public consultation in which everyone could participate. 258,708 citizens responded in the 2nd largest ever response to an EU public consultation – the first being the Nature Alert campaign to defend the EU’s critical Birds & Habitat Directives.

Out of the public consultation's 34 questions, we chose what we believe were the five most relevant questions for public participation. You can read the questions and answers below.

“What are the main problems/obstacles preventing the current policy from successfully delivering on its objectives? What are the drivers behind these problems?”
The CAP does not promote sustainable farming, as it is mostly designed to benefit a small number of large intensive farms. It also fails to support the full implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation and of legislation on related food and farming issues, such as animal welfare and health.

“Which elements of the current CAP are the most burdensome or complex and why?”
The current policy (mainly Pillar I subsidies) is a burden to both people and nature; despite its massive budget, it fails to deliver concrete social and environmental benefits across key sectors, e.g. jobs, rural economies, public health, food, climate and biodiversity.

“Do you see the need to add objectives for a modernised CAP; if yes, which ones?”
A modernised CAP should facilitate the transition to a sustainable food and farming system, safeguard the environment and deliver real benefits for all people, including farmers. It must end all harmful subsidies and deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including tackling climate change.

“Do you have concrete ideas for simplifying the CAP and reducing the administrative burden for farmers, beneficiaries (or public administrations)? Please specify and explain the reasons behind your suggestions.”
CAP Pillar 1 subsidies should be replaced with incentives tied to targeted (and monitored) social and environmental requirements.

“Do you have more ideas for modernising the CAP?”
I agree with the Living Land vision. The EU’s new agricultural policy must be fair, environmentally sustainable, healthy and globally responsible. The policy-making process should be open and transparent, and should involve all relevant authorities and sectors (notably environment, but also climate, development, health, etc.)