150 Civil society groups call for reform of European agricultural policies

Press Release

Brussels, 6 March 2017

Over 150 European civil society organisations representing environmental and social justice networks, organic farmers, pastoralists, peasants, sustainable forestry groups, health groups, animal welfare organisations, consumer rights bodies, development, fair-trade, cultural heritage and rural development organisations, consumer co-operatives, sustainable tourism and crafts associations from 25 EU countries have today called on EU leaders to carry out a radical reform of the CAP and related policies.

The call comes as agricultural ministers meet in Brussels [1] to discuss future reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and also in light of the public consultation [2] launched by the European Commission on the future of the policy.

In a common statement titled ‘Good Food, Good Farming – Now’ [3] the signatories state that the current food and farming system is no longer functioning, since it props up the agro-industrial status quo, and call for a fundamental reform of Europe’s broken agricultural policy. [4] Such a reform is urgently needed to enable a transition towards a food and farming system which supports fair and diverse food and farming economies, is underpinned by viable alternatives such as organic and agro-ecological farming, and which respects the environment and animal welfare, supports citizens’ health, and is publicly accountable.

EEB Policy Manager for Agriculture and Bioenergy, Faustine Bas-Defossez, said: “We can no longer afford to pour over €55 billion of taxpayers’ money every year into a policy which is driving the depletion of the precious natural resources farmers rely on to produce our food. Before negotiations on the future EU budget begin next year, Agriculture Ministers must discuss exactly what the CAP budget will deliver for people and how - before they start wrangling over the amount. For these discussions to be relevant and given that farming is intrinsically linked to nature, Environment Ministers should also have a seat at the negotiation table."

Bas-Defossez continued: "While a large part of civil society has called for a radical reform of the CAP, at the same time MEPs on Parliament’s Agriculture committee are trying to water down even further [5] what has become meaningless in the policy and Agriculture Ministers prefer to discuss the CAP behind closed doors. Not only is it high time for radical change to this policy to ensure it delivers for farmers, people, and the environment, but it is also essential to change the policy’s governance. This means involving MEPs from Parliament’s Environment committee and making Council discussions transparent."


[1] Agriculture and Fisheries Council, Agenda, 6 March 2017
[2] The European Commission’s Public Consultation on ‘Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)’ began on 2 February and is open until the 2 May 2017.
[3] Full statement
[4] Some problems with the food and farming system in the EU:

[5] Draft Opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for the Committee on Budgets (20.2.2017)