Regulatory policy

Macron angers UK as ‘one of EU’s worst policies’ imposed on UK farmers | Science | News

Earlier this month, a group of 130 UK farmers wrote an open letter to the government demanding they keep their Brexit promises and roll out the long-delayed farm program to replace the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) . Writing to Environment Secretary George Eustice, UK farmers argued that the CAP encouraged poor farming practices, which lowered productivity and drove farmers away from net zero targets.

French influence on the EU is one of the main reasons why the EU CAP has not supported farmers not only in the UK but in many other member countries, according to agricultural experts.

Speaking to, Dustin Benton, political director of the Green Alliance, described the CAP as “one of the worst policies in the EU”.

He argues that the subsidy program mainly gives money to very large, well-to-do farmers, which makes it “unprogressive socially”.

This statement is backed up by a report from the European Commission, which indicates that 64% of the subsidy budget is sent to the generally wealthy 20% of farm owners who own large farms.

Mr Benton added: ‘It doesn’t really support food production in any meaningful way, which was in fact its original purpose when the CAP was created 50 years ago.

“It does nothing for nature or climate change, which are among the biggest challenges facing the food system.

“If you talk to farmers who are trying to get to net zero, the CAP doesn’t really help them do that, so there’s real frustration.”

According to Mr Benton, the powerful agricultural lobbies in France are one of the main reasons why the EU CAP has not helped many farmers.

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He said: “There have been a lot of CAP reforms, but the short cut is that everything has to do with national interests and the work of European budgets.

“It’s quite complicated but basically French farmers are very good at influencing the farm subsidy budget and saying ‘we need CAP subsidies to maintain our position globally and sustain the character of the French countryside. ‘.

According to Mr Benton, because of their influence, they are able to push through a system of subsidies that benefits them the most, even as the policies become “increasingly difficult to defend for all farms in the EU”. EU”.

He continued: “It created a lot of perversions, including this point about already very wealthy farmers getting public money for nothing really, which is not a very good use of tax money.

“[The french farming lobby] is the group that benefits the most from this system and is politically the most effective in this area.

“Put simply, whenever there’s a proposition that French farmers don’t like the genre of driving their tractors up to the Élysée Palace and knocking on the front door.”

During Brexit, the government promised a new agricultural policy to replace the CAP.

But, farmers say, the new environmental land management scheme risks further delays of at least another two years, meaning UK farmers are still operating under the CAP to receive farm subsidies.