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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

MEPs miss chance to reform disastrous EU agriculture policy

LONDON’S Green MEP Jean Lambert has lambasted the failure of the European Parliament to reform ‘disastrous’ EU agriculture policies.

The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) sees billions in subsidies paid every year to some of the richest landowners in the EU – including almost €1 billion to just 1,920 of landowners (0.64% of the total number) in the UK alone – in the name of protecting famers, the environment, and rural economies.

Last week MEPs considered a number of reforms to the CAP: the first time directly-elected MEPs have been given a say in how it works.

Greens argued – alongside farmers’ groups and environmental NGOs – that the priorities for reform should centre on four issues: making farming Greener and more sustainable, protecting rural economies and farming jobs, making the CAP fairer, with a more equitable distribution of subsidies, and strengthening farmers’ bargaining power with multi-national food retailers.

But MEPs voted against all these reforms.

“The European Parliament has missed an opportunity to deliver any real reform of the CAP,” said Ms Lambert.

“It’s the first time MEPs have been given a say in how agriculture policies work – and, despite Greens’ best efforts – they failed this test abysmally: rejecting the needs of farmers, rural economies and the environment in favour of ‘business as usual’,” she added.

“We will keep on calling for reform that places the needs of farmers, and the environment, above the profits the supermarkets and the huge subsidies enjoyed by rich landowners.

“How we organise our farming matters to us all: as the horsemeat scandal shows, it’s vital that we shorten supply chains and bring farmers and consumers closer together.”