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After years of negotiations over the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), changes are finally afoot. Plans to cut back on spending and make farming more environmentally friendly have sparked concern that tensions between farmers and environmentalists could rocket. Brussels has been urged to strike a between protecting livelihoods and nature.

Changes to CAP spending include making 10 percent of the money for landscapes that benefit biodiversity, 35 percent for environmental and climate-related measures and direct payments for eco-schemes.

Green MEPs, however, don’t believe the plans anywhere far enough.

Thomas Waitz, an Austrian Green MEP told Euronews: “While farming today is part of the destruction, and part of the problem, especially with industrial agriculture and mass breeding, it could be part of the solution.

“Agriculture can actually sequester CO2 into the soil if it replaces artificial fertiliser with green fertiliser.”

He continued: “It cannot just reduce the emissions but actually contribute to sequestering the CO2 into the soil.

“So it has a huge potential to give us support in reaching climate neutrality.

“This chance, I must say, has been missed now.”

Others who back the deal say European farmers need support.

Herbert Dorfmann, a European People’s Party MEP told Euronews: “Well I have sometimes the impression here in Brussels that we are only in the green agenda and we are not only in the green agenda.

“Agriculture policy has also always been an economic policy.

“We need to find a balance between the interests of the farmers on one side and the interests of the citizens and the consumer on the other side.”

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He added: “By the way I think there’s a huge responsibility on the consumers’ side.

“The consumer cannot go on to ask for sustainable food, more organic food, more local food and whatever and go to the supermarket and look for the cheapest thing he can buy. This does not work.”

For farmers big and small, Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy keeps them in business.

It’s a big slice of the European Union’s budget as well, representing around a third of entire expenditure.

MEPs have now voted on their position ahead of talks with the European Council.

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