CAP: a lesson for Estonia

  • 2000-10-19
  • Aleksei Gynter
TALLINN - Juhan Telgmaa, chairman of the Estonian Nature Conservation Society (ELKS), took part in an environmental conference in Madrid from Oct. 5-7. Among other issues, the environmental aspects of European Union enlargement were discussed.

Ministers from Spain, France and Denmark along with senior officials of the European Commission and representatives of different non-government organizations took part in the conference organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Changes in environmental issues of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) were the focus of the conference. As Estonian environmentalists previously stated, the CAP reform going on for eight years still does not provide environment-saving solutions for the EU's enlargement to the east.

Conservationists see problems occurring due to the social tension accompanying EU enlargement and to consumers' concerns about food quality, ELKS' spokeswoman told BNS the day before the conference.

The main decision carried out at the conference was a directive to EU members regarding more attention to preserving nature within the agricultural framework, said Telgmaa.

"A special donation is planned for those farmers and agricultural companies whose work meets EU environmental requirements," he added.

According to Telgmaa, it would be helpful for Estonia to study the directive to the EU members taking into account Estonia's wish to become one.

The official EU website,, says the CAP needs to rise to the challenge of greater consumer interest in food safety, quality and animal welfare in order to preserve Europe's rural heritage.

"From 2000, the new CAP takes into full account increased consumer concerns over food quality and safety, environmental protection and animal well-being in farming. Both in market support and in the new rural development policy, compliance with minimum standards in the fields of environment, hygiene and animal welfare is a requirement," says the website.

Estonian environmental organizations have been studying probable EU influence on the local environment for two years, according to Maret Merisaar, PR manager of Friends of the Earth Estonia (FEE).

FEE is going to publish a series of books concerning the environmental impact of EU in different spheres. The first of six books - The Environmental effects of EU agricultural policy - will come out in November.