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24 Nov 2021, 13:06
Kerstine Appunn

German NGOs want more national climate action to complement EU agriculture funding

Clean Energy Wire

The European parliament has passed the rules for funding European farmers but German NGOs and farmers associations insist that the new German government has to make changes to its implementation so that more climate action can be achieved. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) regulates the payment of almost 400 billion euros in subsidies to farmers in the period 2023 to 2027. NGOs criticise that a majority of the money is still going to be paid out according to the size of a farm, with only 25 percent being distributed in return for ecological and climate-friendly farming methods (eco-schemes). "The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy does not meet the objectives of the Green Deal or the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Agriculture. Intensive production and land ownership will continue to be more profitable than consistent nature and climate protection,” said Jörg-Andreas Krüger, president of the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). “The upcoming German government must therefore step up its game in terms of national measures and do more than just the minimum required by Brussels.”

“The new government coalition must ensure an increasing budget for eco-schemes of at least 25 percent of direct payments from the beginning and exclude non-agricultural investors from subsidies,” said Elisabeth Fresen, Federal Chairwoman of the Working Group for Rural Agriculture (AbL). The vote of the EU Parliament will be followed by the final approval of the Council of Ministers on 2 December. The acting government cabinet in Berlin on 24 November passed the last two implementation acts for the new CAP funding period. This will enable the agriculture ministry to hand in the required CAP strategic plan to the European Commission for approval in time by 1 January, 2022, minister Julia Klöckner said. 

Germany’s agriculture sector is responsible for around nine percent of emissions (2020). Climate action in farming has long been an afterthought in Germany’s emission reduction efforts but the target of climate neutrality by 2045 has put new emphasise on making subsidies conditional on more climate friendly farming methods.

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