The European Parliament approved an urgent procedure on Thursday, April 11, allowing it to vote at the end of April on the revision of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with the removal of certain environmental rules sparking anger among farmers in the European Union.

MEPs approved by a strong majority (432 in favor, 155 against, 13 abstentions) resorting to the fast-track procedure for voting on the text during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg (April 22-25), the last one before the European elections in June.

To the great dissatisfaction of environmental non-governmental organizations, the European Commission proposed in mid-March the relaxation, and even the abolition, of some of the “green” criteria of the new CAP, which has been implemented since 2023 for farmers.

Reacting to the changes, the Green Party condemned as unfounded and undemocratic the fast-track procedure approved by the European Parliament.

In align with the Green Party, PASOK MEP Nikos Papandreou opposed the procedure, while SYRIZA MEPs opted to abstain from the vote.

In response to the European Parliament’s decision and the stance of the Greek opposition parties’ MEPs the Minister of Rural Development and Food, Lefteris Avgenakis, who is on a five day official visit to Italy, made a statement today emphasizing that “These demands, raised by farmers in recent mobilizations, were endorsed by the EUMED-9 group of Mediterranean countries following the Ministry of Rural Development and Food’s initiative. Additionally, the European People’s Party, including New Democracy, issued a resolution supporting these changes and all 19 proposals from the Ministry.”

Furthermore the minister added “Today’s development clearly demonstrates the importance of the composition of the European Parliament. Two months ago, farmers rose up demanding the obvious, because they realized that the CAP was not functional and was leading to a violent rather than smooth transition to green policies.”

The review of certain conditionalities in the Regulation on CAP Strategic Plans include the following:

• EU farmers no longer required to dedicate minimum arable land to non-productive areas like fallow land

o Option to maintain non-productive land or establish new landscape features

o Extra financial support via eco-scheme in all Member States’ CAP Strategic Plans

• Crop rotation or diversification allows farmers to meet requirements

o Dependent on national inclusion of crop diversification in CAP Strategic Plan

• Flexibility for Member States on defining sensitive periods and practices for soil cover

o Considering national and regional conditions and weather variability

• Member States can exempt certain crops, soil types, or farming systems from tillage, soil cover, and crop rotation/diversification requirements

• Temporary derogations for severe weather preventing compliance with GAEC requirements

• Proposal to double annual amendments to CAP Strategic Plans for better adaptability

• Exemption of small farms under 10 hectares from compliance controls and penalties


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