Livestock emissions are not adequately addressed, there is too little ambition in the area of air and water quality, and too many nutrients are lost: the European Commission blames Flanders in all sorts of areas for its agricultural policy. To write “De Standaard”, “Gazet van Antwerpen”, “Het Nieuwsblad” and “Het Belang van Limburg”.
The European Common Agricultural Policy is being reformed. Support for farmers and the countryside will continue, but more attention will be paid to sustainable agriculture while respecting the environment and climate. All member states, and in Belgium the relevant regions, had to submit a strategic plan by the end of last year outlining how to achieve this.
But the Flemish plan was not only submitted too late, but also faced heavy criticism from the European Commission. In a letter with comments to the Flemish government, the commission seriously doubts whether Flemish intentions sufficiently contribute to stronger environmental protection, better biodiversity, and more climate action.
Hundreds of millions of support
According to the newspapers, the conclusion is clear: a significant adjustment of plans is needed to bring them into line with European rules. However, the strategic plan that Europe has agreed to is necessary to capture the returns of the European agricultural policy. This relates to €229 million per year for income support for farmers and €43 million for rural development.
Flanders now has time to adapt. In any case, a final plan should be in place by the end of this year, as the new CAP will come into effect in 2023.
Europe’s rejection of the plan was written in the stars.
Green Party MP Mickey Schweleg was not surprised. The Flemish government submitted a draft of its plan to Europe before a public investigation into the plan was completed. So she didn’t bother to address the comments from the investigation. The fact that Europe is now rejecting the plan was written in the stars, says Schoufleg.
While Europe requires member states to strive for 10 percent of nature in agriculture, to promote and protect our biodiversity, Flanders has introduced a 4 percent plan. Under certain circumstances, the Gambon government finds 3 per cent sufficient, which is incomprehensible,” Schoufleg continues to criticize. The Green MP had earlier asked two questions to relevant ministers Joe Bruns (CD&V) and Saturn Demir (N-VA) about The topic, and they will be answered in the committees next week.
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