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Parliamentary questions
PDF 38kWORD 10k
25 February 2020
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Henna Virkkunen
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Common Agricultural Policy and environmental impact

Agriculture has a major impact on the environment. It affects biodiversity and adjoining waters in many ways. Agriculture accounts for around 10% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from the sector have been increasing for some years. The majority of agricultural emissions come from livestock farming, which receives around EUR 30 billion per year in EU support, thus accounting for a fifth of the EU budget. 

Agricultural subsidies are needed to ensure self-sufficiency of food production and security of supply in Europe. However, the aid system does not always function as desired. It sometimes encourages farmers to take environmentally unsustainable decisions . A worrying example of this is the Greek island of Samothraki, which has a population of 3 000 and where there are currently an estimated 50 000 goats whose uncontrolled grazing has caused severe erosion on the island. The support policy has given farmers an incentive to farm goats unsustainably, as it has been possible to receive support regardless of whether goats have produced anything. Monitoring is limited and there has been no long-term planning. As the vegetation has been reduced nearly to zero, a large part of the soil has become impoverished and some of the goats are too malnourished to be suitable for commercial use. The goats are not properly cared for as they are largely left to their own devices on the island.

At the same time, the EU is committed to an ambitious climate policy. The role of agriculture in climate policy should be examined more closely. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy needs to be reformed to meet today’s environmental and economic challenges.

How does the Commission intend to take the EU’s ambitious climate objectives into account in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy? 

How does the Commission intend to ensure that food production is sustainable? 

Original language of question: FI
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