Brussels attacked: EU’s landmark farming deal savaged for ‘threatening our health’

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EU member states announced this morning in Luxembourg they had come to an agreement over reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This will determine exactly how €400 billion of public money will be spent over the next seven years, with many farmers depending on money from Brussels in order to stay in business.

German Agriculture Minister Julia Klockner announced new changes in a live press conference, including a “farm to fork” strategy to reduce the use of pesticides and the fishing industry being made more sustainable.

She said: “After a long and hard struggle, we’ve reached a milestone.”

But for Jorg Rohwedder, who is in charge of the environmental campaign group, We Move Europe, expressed his disappointment at the new policy, as he said most of the MEPs “voted against real change” to protect farming.

He told Express.co.uk: “The CAP supports industrial farming with almost 75 percent of all money transfers.

“All transfers in the CAP are either due to the hectare, the cattle or certain costs farmers are having. Especially linking payments to the hectare leads to higher rent farmers have to pay landowners.

“What the European Union needs to do is pay farmers a fair price for ecosystem services they provide – for instance not only covering the pure costs of a flower meadow, but also a price for the work a farmer has to seed it and the loss he has for not using it to produce food or feed.”

Mr Rohwedder claimed the policy does not help farmers or the environment, but rather those who own the land.

He said: “In its current form it helps those owning the soil, not farmers nor the environment. The money can be better allocated to help both, farmer and the environment.

“Industrial farming threatens our health. Mink farming in Denmark right now is an example of this.

“Minks get COVID-19 and as a result, scientists found two versions of mink-COVID.

“Same story with antibiotics in cattle farming creating multi-resistant germs.”

Mr Rohwedder also called on the EU to invest more in sustainable farming.

He said: “As a result of cattle farming we also see increasing emissions of methane and nitrate, heating up the climate and polluting groundwater.

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“Pesticides like glyphosate are to be found almost everywhere scientists are searching for it (bread, beer, breast milk, baby food).

“Glyphosate is most probably carcinogenic, at least according to the WHO.

“Most importantly: an increasing number of researches show that sustainable farming is sufficient to feed the world’s population and avoid all those bad side effects.

“We want the EU to invest money in a transition to a healthy and secure food system ensuring a fair income for all farmers.”

The German Agriculture Minister praised the deal during her announcement on Twitter.

She said: “We made it. A milestone for a reorientation of EU agriculture, with green architecture at its core. For Germany, this means €1 billion of our budget will be used for ecological rules/biomeasures, while at the same time maintaining a balance with income and food security.”

The EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Fisheries Janusz Wojciechowski also thanked the “German Presidency for its efforts to take forward the work of the former Presidencies and for tabling compromise proposals.”

Member states now have to send their policy plans to the EU Commission to be approved.

They must also offer further “eco-measures” which go beyond the new obligatory environmental protections.

The new reform will then start in 2023, beginning with a two-year “learning period.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the EU Commission for a comment. 

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