Updates with MEP Michel Dantin comments.
A survey conducted by Greenpeace has found that 25 out of 46 MEPs of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee have “strong” links to the farming industry.
In the survey, published on 24 May, Greenpeace pointed out that the MEPs who have links to the agriculture sector have a “safe” majority to make decisions in the committee.
Eight of them belong to the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), three to the Social-Democrats (S&D) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), two to GUE-NGL and the Greens and the rest come from ENL and EFDD.
EURACTIV tried to get a comment from several MEPs but received no answer by the time of publication.
The Greenpeace survey refers to the MEPs who are or used to be farmers, CAP payment recipients in another capacity, current or former partners in agricultural businesses, have spouses who own farms and own shares in agricultural businesses.
Four more MEPs have looser connections to the agriculture sector, such as parents who are or used to be farmers, the survey noted.
Greenpeace said this is something that does not satisfy the need for a holistic approach of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, considering that CAP has to deliver other objectives as well, linked to food and the protection of the environment.
“There is no question that farming expertise has a vital role to play in the reform of EU agriculture rules, but farming affects a lot more than the farming industry and this should be reflected in the policy process,” said Greenpeace’s EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero.
“The European Parliament should give policy-makers with expertise on public health and the environment a real say on the future of agriculture in the EU,” the Italian expert added.
The report noted that EU policies on energy and transport are not decided by power companies or car manufacturers alone, so the agriculture industry must not be allowed to regulate itself.
“Diversity of interests, knowledge and expertise is required.”
Following the publication of this article, Michel Dantin, an MEP of the European People's Party, commented, "Nothing is new under the sun. Those pieces of information are publicly available on the European Parliament's website since 2014."
"The membership in a parliamentary committee is not linked to the parliamentarian's previous functions but to the desire to work on a specific policy field with expertise and knowledge which is always better when taking important decisions. The doors of the Agriculture committee are therefore open to those who wish to work together to improve the Common Agriculture Policy," he added.