Changes to Europe’s farm policy (CAP) signal more bad news for small game

Brussels, 3 April 2024 – Last week, EU Member States supported the European Commission’s proposal on the targeted review of the CAP.

The European Parliament will now apply an urgent procedure to ensure that the same text is voted on without amendments in the Agriculture Committee and finally in the parliament’s plenary session on 22 April.

To comply with the European Council’s conclusions adopted in February, the European Commission’s legislative proposal includes several measures, which are bad news for small game and wider farmland biodiversity.

The proposal includes:

  • Exempting farms under 10 hectares from controls and penalties related to compliance with CAP conditionality requirements.
  • Changing the requirements set for GAEC standards no. 6 (soil cover during sensitive periods), 7 (crop rotation) and 8 (non-productive features).
  • Introducing the possibility for Member States to adopt exemptions with regard to GAEC standards no. 5 (tillage management and soil erosion), 6, 7 and 9 (ban on converting or ploughing permanent grassland designated as environmentally sensitive permanent grasslands in Natura 2000 sites).

The proposal follows the Commission Delegated Regulation modifying the rules concerning GAEC standard 1 on the preservation of permanent grassland adopted earlier in March.

It’s clear that farmers face many complex challenges that must be addressed. However, these changes to the CAP’s conditionality signal more bad news for small game populations, which rely on healthy farmland habitats. Going forward, Europe needs a more resilient farming policy to better support farmers’ needs and biodiversity.

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