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Common Agricultural Policy for the Alps

The new Common Agricultural Policy should take better into account environmental criteria and the special conditions of agriculture in the Alps.

The new Common Agricultural Policy should take better into account environmental criteria and the special conditions of agriculture in the Alps. © Natura 2000 Projekt Ludescherberg

A new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is being negotiated in Brussels/BE. And as the CAP is also to take account of the particular conditions of agriculture in the Alps, in April the ministers of the Alpine states drew up a declaration at the International Mountain Region Conference in Oberammergau/D.
In the declaration, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, France, Austria and Switzerland advocated the principle of "protection through use". They state that it is only through active management that customs and handicrafts can be preserved, a contribution to tourism to be made, and a minimum of settlement be secured. In the Oberammergau Declaration the signatory countries also state that together they intend to draw up measures to deal with the impact of globalisation and climate change and also to jointly market agricultural produce. According to Ilse Aigner, the German Minister of Agriculture, the proposals could be substantiated in the Alpine Convention's Mountain Agriculture Platform. In 2006 the EU ratified the Mountain Agriculture Protocol and committed to sustainable, site-specific and environmentally compatible mountain farming in the Alpine region.
The Verein zum Schutz der Bergwelt also feels that the previous CAP took insufficient consideration of the Alps. It believes it was tailored to lowland areas and it was particularly inadequate when it came to protecting biodiversity. It also states that environmental compensatory payments are rarely tied to specific ecological targets.
The Council and the European Parliament are to vote in the coming year on the new CAP for the period 2014 to 2020. It accounts for around 40 per cent of the EU budget.
Sources and additional information: www.bmelv.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen (de), www.vzsb.de/pdf (en), www.laendlicher-raum.at/article/articleview (de)
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