With the CAP reform, see link, all arable farmers above 15 hectares need to reserve 5% of their land for Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) starting in 2015, which later might increase to 7%. While we do consider it fundamental to ensure that each farmer across the EU starts protecting biodiversity though so-called EFAs, we find it ridiculous that it is now allowed to produce certain crops, and even to use pesticides!
It will be for Member States to take the final decision on national level to decide 1) what can be grown in the EFAs and 2) if farmers can use pesticides to grow in EFAs. This vague approach definitely goes against the idea of using buffer strips to attract natural predators and pollinators, which could have been a way to start managing rather than killing all pests, in line with the principle of integrated production, it will now be in the hands of Member States to ensure a successful implementation.
As part of the CAP reform, Member States will be obliged as part of the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) to give advice on the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the SUD.
Unfortunately, the Council and the European Parliament did not agree with the Commission’s idea of introducing the SUD and the WFD into the so-called cross compliance rules, conditions to comply with to receive direct payments. Instead, a joint statement was elaborated, in an addendum 2 to the CAP agreement, stating:
‘The Council and the European Parliament invite the Commission to monitor the transposition and the implementation by the Member States of Directive 2000/60/EC of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy and Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides and, where appropriate, to come forward, once these Directives have been implemented in all Member States and the obligations directly applicable to farmers have been identified, with a legislative proposal amending this regulation with a view to including the relevant parts of these Directives in the system of cross-compliance."
So while the CAP reform after years of negotiations is ending in Brussels the fight will still continue at national level, including among others a solid implementation of the SUD, fight for no use of pesticides in EFAs, fight for serious greening, and for development of serious rural development programs.
Our factsheet and contributions to the CAP towards 2020 debate :