This morning at 8:50 am, the protesters of Extinction Rebellion Finland cut off traffic in front of the Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry at Mariankatu 9, Helsinki. The demonstration challenges the current reform of the EU’s common agricultural policy, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is completely inadequate in terms of its climate goals. There are approximately 80 protesters present. The demonstration is non-violent, and the traffic was cut off in co-operation with the Helsinki Police Department.
Finland, under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, is currently preparing its own national CAP plan, which it will send to the European Commission next year. The CAP will guide agricultural policy in EU member states for the next seven years, which are critical years in terms of climate action. Today, at the same time as the demonstration, the Ministry is running a webinar on the preparation of the CAP reform, where Minister Jari Leppä and the ministry management will present the reform. Extinction Rebellion Finland has approached the ministry and expects the ministry to take a stand on their demands after the webinar with a direct confrontation with the protesters.
Extinction Rebellion Finland demands that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry publicly states the truth: the proposed reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is not in line with the Paris Agreement commitments, the EU Declaration on Climate Emergency and the European Green Deal; makes their already too loose climate goals almost impossible to achieve. As such, the CAP will also not halt agricultural biodiversity loss, which threatens global food security, or significantly reduce agricultural nutrient run-off into water bodies. Rather, at present, it destroys the possibility of acting effectively in a continent-wide climate and environmental crisis for which there is no national solution. Even Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for reform, considers the current state of reform to be inferior.
In addition to Extinction Rebellion Finland, the youth climate movement Fridays for Future together with multitude of other environmental movements have also criticized the CAP reform, but its preparation has largely continued to take place in media silence. Extinction Rebellion believes that Finland needs to take the CAP under review, and make its own national CAP strategy and support policy much more ambitious than the current one. Finland must set national tools and measurable assessment criteria to significantly reduce agricultural climate emissions, nutrient run-off and biodiversity loss in Finland. If, on the other hand, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry disagrees with the situation, it must clearly and publicly show how Finland’s CAP plan is in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and the European Green Development Program.
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