Payments designed to encourage farmers to “go green” are unlikely to enhance the Common Agricultural Policy’s environmental and climate-related performance significantly, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. The auditors found that the new payments added more complexity to the system but had led to changed farming practices on only about five per cent of EU farmland.
Greening is a new type of direct payment introduced with the 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It was designed to reward farmers for having a positive impact on the environment which would otherwise not be rewarded by the market. It is the only direct payment whose main stated objective is environmental.
The auditors examined whether greening was capable of enhancing the CAP’s environmental and climate performance in accordance with EU objectives. They conducted interviews with the authorities in five Member States: Greece, Spain (Castile and León), France (Aquitaine and Nord-Pas-de-Calais), the Netherlands and Poland.
“Greening remains essentially an income support scheme,” said Mr Samo Jereb, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “As currently implemented, it is unlikely to enhance the CAP’s environmental and climate performance significantly”.