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Special Report 13/2020: Biodiversity on farmland: CAP contribution has not halted the decline

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In Europe, the number and variety of animal species on farmland – “farmland biodiversity” – is in marked decline. Yet the EU committed to stop biodiversity loss by 2020. To do this, The Commission planned to allocate €66 billion from the common agricultural policy between 2014 and 2020.

We assessed whether the EU’s agricultural policy has helped to maintain and enhance farmland biodiversity. We found that the formulation of the agriculture targets in the EU biodiversity strategy makes it difficult to measure progress; the way the Commission tracks biodiversity expenditure in the EU budget is unreliable; the impact of CAP direct payments is limited or unknown; and the Commission and Member States have favoured lower-impact rural development measures.

We recommend that the Commission improves the design of its next biodiversity strategy, enhances the contribution made to biodiversity by direct payments and rural development action, tracks biodiversity-related expenditure more accurately and develops reliable indicators that are suited to monitoring progress in farmland biodiversity.

ECA special report pursuant to Article 287(4), second subparagraph, TFEU.