The CAP, the common agricultural policy, functions as the EU’s agricultural subsidy system. The next CAP period will last seven years and cost € 387 billion in public money. This has a huge impact on the European agricultural system and, as a result, has a major impact on biodiversity and the climate.
The European Commission, Council and Parliament are currently negotiating the future of the CAP. You would think that these discussions would be transparent on an issue that is so fundamental to European citizens, right? You are wrong. Although democracy is one of the core values of the EU, these “trialogue” discussions are hidden from European citizens.
It is for this reason that we, as a coalition of civil society organizations, are sending the following open letter calling on those behind the closed doors to make the trialogues transparent.
Brussels, 30 November 2020
Norbert Lins, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Union
houses of Parliament
Pascal Canfin, Chairman of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament
Julia Klöckner, Minister of Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Germany
Maria do Céu Antunes, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Portugal
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission,
Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development
Cc: Peter Jahr, Ulrike Müller, Eric Andrieu, Christophe Hansen, Rapporteurs for the CAP
Subject: Transparency of the CAP trialogue process
Dear Members of the European Parliament,
Dear Executive Vice-President of the European Commission,
We are writing to you as NGOs to demand that the GAP trialogue process be made as transparent and open as possible. The CAP is vital to the success of the European Green Deal, including the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. Given the volume of EU taxpayers’ money of € 387 billion by 2027, this is of considerable public interest. Therefore, increased transparency of the decision-making process should be the norm for any discussion of these files.
Trialogues are a regular part of the EU decision-making process and are applied to 70-80% of EU legislative processes. However, the level of transparency usually falls significantly behind that of others
Procedures in the EU institutions, especially in the European Parliament. Such a lack of transparency in trialogue negotiations has repeatedly been the subject of discussions that have been investigated by the EU
Ombudsman and judgments of the European Court of Justice.
In 2016, the EU Ombudsman urged the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council to improve the transparency of the trialogue negotiations by making important documents such as the agendas and minutes of meetings public. Despite the legislator’s commitments to improve access to documents, in particular the so-called “4-column” document, information about the ongoing negotiations on the three CAP files is not available to the general public.
The right of European citizens to participate in EU political decision-making is enshrined in Article 10 (3) of the Treaty on European Union, which also requires that decisions be taken as openly and closely as possible with citizens. Transparency in trialogue proceedings is an essential prerequisite for citizens’ ability to exercise their democratic rights, as confirmed by the Court in Case T-540/15 De Capitani v Parliament: “If citizens can exercise their democratic rights, they must do so be able to follow in detail the decision-making process within the institutions involved in the legislative process and have access to all relevant information. “
The CAP is vital to Europe’s success in addressing a wide range of issues of public concern, from climate and biodiversity crises to public health and animal welfare issues. It is therefore important that European citizens are able to follow and participate in decision-making processes, including the ongoing trialogue meetings on the three CAP files between their institutions. For this reason, we ask you to publish the calendar and agendas of the upcoming meetings and, after each political trialogue meeting, the minutes of the meeting and the latest version of the four-column documents in a timely manner.
We look forward to your timely answer and are still available for any inquiries.
Katarina Jurikova, coordinator, Agro ekoforum
Francesco Panella, President of BeeLife
Ariel Brunner, Acting Director, BirdLife Europe & Central Asia
Franco Ferroni, spokesman, let’s change agriculture
Anais Berthier, Head of EU Affairs, ClientEarth
Olga Kikou, Head of the EU Office, Compassion in World Agriculture
Martin Pigeon, researcher and activist, Corporate Europe Observatory
Stefania Petrosillo, Policy Officer, EUROPARC Federation
Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the European Environment Bureau
Nikolai Pushkarev, Food Systems Policy Coordinator, European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
Tilmann Disselhoff, President of Eurosite
Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office, FOUR PAWS
Jagoda Munić, Director, Friends of the Earth Europe
Jorgo Riss, Director of the European Union Greenpeace
Eduardo Cuoco, Director of IFOAM Organics Europe
Shefali Sharma, Director of the European Bureau, Agricultural and Trade Policy Institute
Agnieszka Makowska, Coalition Coordinator, Living Earth Coalition, Poland
Mathieu Wittmann, coordinator, Meng Agriculture
Saskia Richartz, Head of Campaign, My Agriculture | We’re sick of it!
François Veillerette, President of PAN Europe
Fernando Vinegla, coordinator, for another PAC
Marta Messa, Director of Slow Food Europe
Joost de Jong, Food Transition Coalition
Nicholas Aiossa, Deputy Director, Transparency International EU
Yurena Lorenzo, Head of Office & Program Manager, Wetlands International Europe
Ester Asin, Director, WWF – European Policy Office