In the second in a series of in-depth conversations with leading figures in the debate on the future of the European Union’s common agricultural policy, Jack Thurston speaks with Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife International.
BirdLife International is “a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. BirdLife Partners operate in over one hundred countries and territories worldwide.”
Anyone who has been in and around Brussels policy circles over the past few years will know that Ariel Brunner is among the most knowledgeable and persuasive advocates for radical reform of the CAP. Recently been promoted from his role in charge of the agriculture policy brief, he is now BirdLife’s Head of EU Policy. Despite the new portfolio that includes big issues like climate change, he is certain to be in the mix at the crunch moments over the next year or two as the EU decides the future of the CAP.
In the course of the interview Ariel makes the case for an ambitions Europe-wide agriculture policy based upon the idea of putting money behind sustainable farming. He takes on the argument that in the wake of the food price spikes of 2008, Europe can afford to ignore the environment and calls for farmers and environmentalists to put past conflicts behind them and work together. He explains why the current political debate on the CAP is disappointing, with most member states defending narrow views of their own ‘national interest’ and the European Parliament too often defending the status quo.