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Two hundred and fifty civil society organizations across Europe, including IATP and other food and farm groups, sent a letter to the heads of the European Commission, Parliament and Council on September 30 to express their strong alarm at the current state of negotiations of the European Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). The CAP (the equivalent of the U.S. Farm Bill) has years funneled farm payments to some of the largest European farms, even as the EU lost 4 million farms in just 10 years (2005-2015). A vote by the European Council on the future CAP is expected later this month. The letter, signed by groups such as IFOAM Organics Europe, Slow Food Europe, Agroecology Europe, ARC2020, environmental groups and national platforms of food, development and environmental groups in Germany, France and Spain urged the heads of these institutions to fully align the CAP with the European Green Deal as attempts to truly green the CAP appear to be in jeopardy.

The groups outlined a list of concrete measures that EU policymakers should undertake in the new CAP, including “ensure CAP instruments are available to strengthen value capture in local economies through short supply chains, to promote health- and sustainability-oriented business models in rural areas, and to encourage and support farmers to undertake a transition to agroecological farming systems, including by lowering their animal stocking density and diversifying their production.”

They also demanded that EU policymakers “Integrate relevant Green Deal targets into the CAP and clearly tie subsidies to progress on the objectives of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies.”

The groups warned that “the window of opportunity to prevent catastrophic climate change and biodiversity collapse is closing. The European Commission’s own scientific advisors found overwhelming evidence that “radical [food] system-wide change is required….” In fact, the European Environmental Agency’s European Environment — State and Outlook 2020 Report, published this May states that the EU’s environment is at a tipping point: “We have a narrow window of opportunity in the next decade to scale up measures to protect nature, lessen the impacts of climate change and radically reduce our consumption of natural resources.”

The groups stressed that farmers and workers across food supply chains, in Europe and globally, are key actors in a much needed agroecological transformation of European agriculture and that “the CAP must provide them with the right policy and financial support to change and adapt.”

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