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Open letter to President von der Leyen: Withdrawal of the CAP

Intensive agriculture fuels biodiversity and the climate crisis. In its current form, the common agricultural policy would force us to continue down this dark path for the next seven years. We urgently need a transition to green agriculture. We need a real EU Green Deal.

For this reason, as a diverse coalition of civil society organizations, we are sending the following open letter to the President of the European Commission von der Leyen, calling on her to withdraw the CAP.

To: European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen

Cc. Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans

Berlaymont, 200 rue de la Loi

1000 – Brussels

October 30, 2020

REF SBE 020/074

Dear Commission President Von der Leyen,

Subject: Withdrawal of the Commission’s proposal for the common agricultural policy after 2020

We are writing to you to call on the European Commission to withdraw its proposal on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 1 in order to protect your Commission’s guiding policy, the European Green Deal.

The positions on the CAP agreed in the European Parliament and Council work against the EU Green Deal (and the associated strategies for farm-to-fork and biodiversity) 2:

  • They enable billions of harmful subsidies that you have just pledged to phase out under the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature and that, according to the EU’s international commitments, should expire by 20203 For example, the positions seriously undermine the basic “do-no-harm” baseline (conditionality); Increase in production payments (coupled) and removal of security measures, e.g. B. when extending irrigation;

  • They limit climate, environmental, animal welfare and public health ambitions, and allow or even require Member States to devote most of the funds to subsidizing business as usual (or possibly worse) practices.

  • They expressly exclude a link with the goals of the Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategies.

In the crucial decade4 of measures to avert turning points for nature and the climate, it is impossible to spend € 387 billion in taxpayers’ money, a third of the entire EU budget, on driving rather than solving the crisis.

The European Commission kept the 2018 CAP proposal that the Council and Parliament would not weaken it. Now that both legislators have watered down the green architecture of the CAP significantly, we do not believe that the trialogue negotiations could resolve this situation. The only way to maintain a higher environmental target in line with the European Green Deal is to withdraw the proposal put forward by the previous Commission and come up with a new proposal based on helping farmers transition from industrial agriculture to a Green Deal . A compatible CAP invests hundreds of billions in agricultural practices that work with nature and within ecological boundaries, support the health and wellbeing of citizens, and thus ensure our ability to produce food in the future. The extension of the current CAP by two years makes this possible. The future of our children must go beyond what is politically sensible.

We look forward to your message and are available for a meeting to discuss our request.



BeeLife – European beekeeping coordination

Biodynamic Federation – Demeter International

BirdLife Europe and Central Asia

Coalition CambiamoAgricoltura, Italy


Living Earth Coalition, Poland

Compassion in World Agriculture

Corporate Europe Observatory

EuroNatur Foundation

EUROPARC Federation

European Environment Bureau

European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS)

European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

Food & Water Action Europe

Friends of the Earth Europe


Harmless Healthcare (HCWH) Europe

Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy

My agricultural coalition, Luxembourg

Europe pesticide action network

Safe Food Advocacy Europe (SAFE)

Slow Food Europe

Four paws

Essen Other Netherlands

Wetlands International Europe

WWF – Office for European Politics


(1) The legal basis for the withdrawal of the CAP proposal can be set out in Article 293 (2) TFEU and subsequent case law, which shows that the Commission can amend or withdraw a legislative proposal if the Council has not acted by Parliament and changes planned by the Council distort the proposal in a way that prevents the achievement of the objectives of the act (C-409/2013, para. 41).

2. An analysis shared by scientists https://tinyurl.com/yysm9fq3, experts like the IEEP https://tinyurl.com/y5t7btnx and a significant part of the MPs who opposed the deal for these reasons .

3. Aichi target 3: https://tinyurl.com/y38zuc9o.

4. In 2018 the IPCC estimated that we still have 12 years to prevent catastrophic climate change.

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