The European Parliament voted recently on its position on the CAP reform. This included a series of amendments concerning CAP financial support for bullfighting and a potential restriction on coupled payments for which the legal basis is questionable.
On 28 October 2020, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Mazaly Aguilar of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission.
MEP Aguilar asked the Commission “does it consider that there is a legal basis for Amendments 1229 and 858 adopted on the strategic plans?” and “will they have any real impact on the distribution of aid fixed by the new CAP?”
Lastly, MEP Aguilar enquired “could the Commission list the financial measures in the CAP that support bullfighting at present?” and “what, in the Commission’s opinion, do breeding bulls for bullfighting and their pasture land contribute to biodiversity and the aims put forward in the Farm to Fork Strategy?”
On 4 December, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski responded on behalf of the European Commission and reported that “the European Parliament and the Council as co-legislators are entitled to decide amendments to link the support under the common agricultural policy (CAP) to certain conditions to be respected by the beneficiaries” and “the European Parliament’s amendments referred to by the Honourable Member will be discussed in the trilogues between all three institutions which started on 10 November 2020”.
Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski stated that “no particular impact in terms of the distribution of the aid under the new CAP is expected with this proposal” and “some instruments in the Commission proposal have been specifically designed to address the issue of distribution of support in a more direct and efficient way”. He further explained that “under the current framework of the CAP there is no aid designed to support the breeding of bulls for fighting” and “since the 2003 reform, farmers can get direct payments irrespective of production or destination of the product, as the vast majority of payments are decoupled”.
Commissioner Wojciechowski asserted that “though it is not excluded that Member States could indirectly support bull breeders through the granting of voluntary coupled support, the final use of the supported animals is not governed by Union rules”.
The Agriculture Commissioner also clarified that “in the context of rural development, farmers may receive support under certain measures related, for example, to farm modernisation, agri-environment-climate schemes or areas facing natural constraints for activities not linked to bullfighting”.
Finally, he highlighted that “semi-natural grasslands, resulting from extensively used pastures, are a highly valuable and threatened ecosystem requiring adequate protection and management in the EU, independently of the destination of the grazing animals” and “the Commission is committed to incentivize the most sustainable and carbon-efficient methods of livestock production”.
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/bullfight-bull-fight-matador-arena-4926866/