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Today, the European Environmental Bureau and BirdLife Europe launched a video highlighting the many problems facing the European agricultural ecosystem, at the conference they co-organized with their Danish Members in Copenhagen.

[Copenhagen, March 2nd 2012] – Today, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB)[1] and BirdLife Europe[2] launched a video highlighting the many problems facing the European agricultural ecosystem, at the conference they co-organized with their Danish Members [3] in Copenhagen. The opening animation set the tone of the conference, demonstrating with strong facts and figures the urgent need to shift money towards more sustainable practices - a pre-requisite for our long-term food security.

“Sustainability is a top priority for me, as a Danish Minister and chair of the Council”, said Denmark’s Minister for Agriculture, Mette Gjerskov in her opening statement. “For me, it is vital for the work we are doing in the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy that we have an open discussion involving stakeholders from all levels.”

She continued: “The CAP represents around 40% of the EU budget, paid by taxpayers of Europe. These funds must be invested in the future; this is not an option, this is an absolute necessity. At the time where there is a unique opportunity to adapt the CAP to some of the challenges we face now, and that will only increase in the future.”

Representatives of the Danish EU Presidency, Members of the European Parliament, environmental NGOs, industry, farmers and citizens gathered for the conference in the Danish Parliament to answer the question: “How can the new proposals of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) be the right path to sustainable farming?” One of the main messages was that European decision makers urgently need to improve the current CAP proposals in order to ensure environmental benefits.

“The facts are there, we cannot afford to stay blind any longer,” warned Faustine Defossez, Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer at the EEB. “Especially in times of budgetary pressures, taxpayers’ money needs to be used to secure long-term benefits for our environment and the farmers. We need effective environmental outcomes instead of a mere green rhetoric.

The conference was held at the heart of the co-decision process, with the Parliament and Council discussing the Commission’s proposals released in October 2011. The focus was set on the key role the Danish Presidency will have to play in this process and the opportunity was given to several farmers to show their sustainable practices that could inspire decision makers in the difficult process ahead.

”The more sustainable practices that we have seen today show that it is possible to green the CAP,” said Trees Robijns, EU Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer from Birdlife Europe. “We expect that the Danish Presidency will take up a leadership role in driving the process towards an ambitious outcome: on the one hand offering real sustainable solutions while on the other hand ensuring strong environmental safeguards.”

Both European NGOs hope that together with the Danish Presidency and the Parliament, they will achieve a historical CAP reform leading towards a more sustainable future.

Christian Ege, director from the Danish Ecological Council and co-organizer of the conference, concluded: “This conference shows the necessity for change. In the new CAP, subsidies should only be given on the condition that farmers improve their impact on environment – and not just on conditions that they already fulfil.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors

[1] EEB

Created in 1974, the EEB is now Europe's largest federation of environmental organisations with more than 140 member organisations who gain their membership from the general public. Because of this, we are guided by the voices of 15 million European citizens, and act as the ears and voice of our members towards the EU decision makers.

Visit www.eeb.org

[2] Stichting BirdLife Europe
BirdLife International is a global Partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. The BirdLife Partnership operates in 117 countries and territories worldwide. BirdLife Europe supports the European and Central Asian Partnership for BirdLife International and is present in 45 countries and all EU Member States.

Visit http://europe.birdlife.org

[3] The conference in Denmark was organized by The European Environmental Bureau and BirdLife Europe, in close cooperation with the Danish Ecocouncil (Det Økologiske Råd), BirdLife in Denmark (Dansk Ornitologisk Forening) and the Danish Society for Nature Conservation (Danmarsks Naturfredningsforening)

 

For more information, please contact:

Faustine Defossez, Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy officer, EEB, faustine.defossez@eeb.org

Trees Robijns, EU Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe, Trees.Robijns@birdlife.org

Pauline Constant, Communications Officer, EEB, pauline.constant@eeb.org

Elodie Cantaloube, Media and Communication Assistant, BirdLife Europe, Elodie.Cantaloube@birdlife.org

 

Watch the new video on Youtube at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XP5xah72YDI

 

Read the EEB and BirdLife Europe joint publication on the CAP reform:

The Truth behind the CAP: 13 reasons for green reform