A billion-dollar plan by the federal government is too vague for the EU Commission. It aims to show how German agriculture combines food security and environmental friendliness.

The announcement by the EU Commission is clear: Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) must make significant improvements to the German strategic plan for future EU agricultural subsidies.

“Clear deficiencies” were found and improvements are needed in terms of consistency and completeness, according to an assessment by the commission, among other things. Özdemir’s ministry has published them on the ministry’s website. Target values ​​of the plan would also have to be revised and specified.

The strategic plan is part of a reform of the EU’s common agricultural policy, which aims to make food production more environmentally friendly. How the individual EU countries implement this should be set out in their national strategy plans. When Germany submitted its plan several weeks late in February, Özdemir was still confident that it would be approved.

The German Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) and the German Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) announced at the time that the plans missed “the goals of climate protection, the restoration of biodiversity, the expansion of organic farming and the conversion of livestock farming”.

Dependencies on Russia

Specifically, the Commission’s response to the German plan also states that, in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany must specify how, for example, dependence on fossil fuels and mineral fertilizers will be reduced.

The fears of environmentalists were also confirmed insofar as the Commission assumes that the German plan will only partially contribute to strengthening environmental protection, biodiversity and climate protection, for example within the framework of the Paris climate agreement. In the agreement, Germany also undertakes to limit permanent warming to well below 2 and, if possible, below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The EU agricultural policy has a volume of almost 390 billion euros for the years 2021 to 2027. It is repeatedly criticized for contributing to agriculture relying too much on environmentally harmful methods. Almost a year ago, the EU states and the EU Parliament therefore agreed on the reform of agricultural policy. On the side of the Ministry of Agriculture, it also says about their importance: “The range of funding affects the lives of around 40 million people in rural areas and is relevant in the agricultural sector for around 300,000 applicant companies.”