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Throughout the reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), many opportunities for the CAP to genuinely support public health objectives, such as healthy food environments, planetary health objectives, fair working conditions and the phase out of health-harming subsidies, have not been sufficiently taken on board.
 
As Members of European Parliament prepare to vote at this difficult juncture, starting the CAP reform process anew should be considered a promising option. Should that option fail, there are still amendments that can, to a degree, improve the state of the current proposal.
 
VOTING RECOMMENDATIONS (OCTOBER 2020)

Start the process of drafting the CAP reform anew, to fully align with the EU Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy.

VOTE FOR: AM 1147

 

Should this option fail:

Reject a watering-down of the CAP proposal on planetary health.

VOTE AGAINST: AM 1128, 1130, 1131, 1132, 1133, 1139, 1134, 1136, 1141

Integrate stronger antibiotics use reduction provisions into the CAP, based on improved animal welfare.

VOTE FOR: AM 833, 834, 837, 845

Support farming that cares for the environment and for the well-being of farm animals while providing food security.

VOTE FOR: AM 811, 936, 1134 §4c,1280 to 1296 

VOTE AGAINST: AM 224 to 231, 546, 547, 1130 to 1134 §2, §4a, §4b

End harmful subsidies, for example to factory farms or unsustainable irrigation. 

VOTE FOR: AM 87 to 92, 815 to 818, 1204 to 1206, 1263

VOTE AGAINST: AM 180, 244 §1a first subparagraph, 475

Tie public subsidies to basic environmental and social conditions, including on reducing soil erosion, making space for nature on farms, or guaranteeing workers rights.

VOTE FOR: AM 732 and 1357.

VOTE AGAINST: AM 717 and 1141 

Set the Green Deal targets into the CAP, for example for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing pesticide use, to ensure every EU country and farmer contributes to tackling the current global crises. 

VOTE FOR: AM 806, 808, 832, 963, 1143, 1199 to 1201, 1309, 1325

VOTE AGAINST: AM 107, 109 to 111, 113, 114

 

EPHA priorities for an EU Common Agricultural Policy that support healthy food environments and planetary health, as circulated to MEPs in advance of the European Parliament vote of October 2020.

 

1. Add a nutrition indicator to advance healthy supply chains

Adding an impact and result indicator on nutrition into Annex I of the CAP Strategic Plans Regulation, will provide a clear incentive to align the CAP with efforts to promote healthy, sustainable food consumption patterns in accordance with the Farm to Fork Strategy.

An appropriate aim for such new indicator would be to increase the supply of, and access to fruit and vegetables. Member States would report their achievements on the basis of projects supported, in which increasing fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grains, pulses and/or nuts, figure as a prominent aim.

Such projects can notably include the development of local market infrastructures for fresh produce, enhancing urban to peri-urban supply chain linkages, establishing innovative business models involving improved access to healthy product and so forth.

2. End wine promotion subsidies

The option to fund wine promotion measures both on the internal market and in third countries should be ended as a way to phase-out health incompatible subsidies and ensure an efficient use of public money.

In the period 2014-2018 nearly €220 million per year was spent on wine promotion measures, the bulk of which flowed to major wine and spirits companies. The European Court of Auditors concluded that this measure constitutes a subsidy for these companies’ operational costs.

Amendments 106 and 107, adopted in the COMENVI Opinion 2018/0216(COD), have as their objective the removal of these wasteful subsidies.

3. Strengthen the legal framework to enable antibiotics use reduction

In light of the impending application of the Veterinary Medicines and Medicated Feed Regulations and the 50% antibiotics sales reduction target introduced by the Farm to Fork Strategy, the CAP needs to strengthen its resolve to support antibiotics use reduction. The CAP Strategic Plans Regulation should include new legislative provisions to this end.

This has recently been recommended by the European Commission as well.

4. Align the CAP with the European Green Deal to ensure planetary health

The European Parliament should ensure the CAP delivers on its potential to improve environmental health by integrating agriculture-related European Green Deal targets, ensuring strong accountability, transparency and public participation mechanisms – inclusive of public health actors, phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, and ensuring appropriate funding for farmers to adopt more sustainable practices.

 

For more on CAP and health, see EPHA briefing: CAP: 11 Ways to Deliver for Better Health