CAP Fitness Check – FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How valid are your outcomes?

1. In our literature search we gave major priority to recent publications (after 2005) that clearly contain evidence on the CAP's performance.

2. We gave priority to peer reviewed publications but complemented them by reports and other evidence that could be considered reliable (e.g. EC documents and reports by governmental organizations and independent bodies).

3. We repeatedly scanned and called for the most recent evidence: 74% of the publications in our database are from 2010 or newer, and 32% were published between 2015-2017.  

4. Our conclusions are in line with other independent reports and evaluations, e.g. by OECD, European Court of Auditors, and WTO.

The CAP is not the only factor shaping agricultural lands in the EU. How did you ensure you are really addressing the impacts of the CAP?

Our report makes a strict separation between socio-economic and geopolitical processes that occur in agricultural lands independently of the CAP, and those that can be attributed to the CAP.

To this end, we …

1. … included a stand-alone section on changes in land-use, farm structure and farm management and the contribution of the CAP to these;

2. … separated each section of our ‘effectiveness’ evaluation into a) overall trends versus b) the impacts of the CAP on these.

3. … systematically searched for a baseline for comparison, such as in versus out of the EU; before versus after accession to the EU; or simulations and surveys examining what could happen if (e.g. CAP or Direct Payments were to be abolished).

Isn't it a biased document to serve the interests of Green NGOs?

1. This report is the outcome of an independent scientific process, and its contents represent the knowledge, experience and opinions of its authors alone. The conclusions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the funding organizations, reviewers, or the scoping committee, and it was clarified to each funding organization that no intervention in the report would be allowed.

2. While the study has been initiated and commissioned originally by BirdLife and EEB, we have personally engaged in further fund-raising to ensure continuation of the project. It is by now supported by a large number of additional organizations and institutes, with iDiv being the key funder of the project.

3. The document carefully balances social, economic and environmental aspects. The fact that a larger section of it is allocated to biodiversity results from the wealth of literature on the topic and therefore represents a reality in terms of available knowledge and evidence.

Did you consider working with farming organizations?

Yes we did, and we also contacted a range of farming organizations with a call for cooperation and funding for this project, and we are still keen to collaborate with farmers and farming organizations.

We do believe that the project and our report should first and foremost serve farmers and the public.

How can greening measures already be evaluated after such a short period of implementation?

By evaluating the design of the greening measures, several independent evaluations show that the requirements in themselves do not lead to any major changes in land-use or management. Hence, even if monitoring of the impacts has only started, one can already anticipate little or no improvements with regard to biodiversity or key ESS.

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