Environmental groups urge greater protections for biodiversity and pesticide curbs.
The future of agricultural subsidies in the European Union is the subject of crunch debates this week, with an alliance of political groups backing a compromise plan that green parties warn has inadequate environmental protections.
As politicians went head to head over the issue in the start of a week-long showdown in the European Parliament, agriculture ministers from the 27 member states met in Luxembourg to thrash out a compromise on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that represents a substantial chunk of the EU’s budget.
Proposed changes to the subsidies, which farmers across the continent rely on to stay afloat, seek to balance the priorities of ensuring European food security, providing support to rural areas, and preventing a collapse in biodiversity and additional carbon emissions that environmental campaigners warn will contribute to catastrophic climate change.
The European Commission has proposed tweaks to the subsidy to incentivise farmers to protect biodiversity and maintain habitats that lock in carbon such as peat bogs, as part of a strategy to reach carbon neutrality on the continent by 2050.
The issue is set for a final vote at the end of this week.
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