The announcement by the EU Commission is clear: Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) must make significant improvements to the German strategic plan for future EU agricultural subsidies. “Clear deficiencies” were found and improvements are needed in terms of coherence and completeness, according to an assessment by the Commission, among other things. Özdemir’s ministry has published them on the ministry’s website. Target values ​​of the plan would also have to be revised and specified.

The strategic plan is part of a reform of the EU’s common agricultural policy, which aims to make food production more environmentally friendly. How the individual EU countries implement this should be set out in their national strategy plans. When Germany submitted its plan several weeks late in February, Özdemir was still confident that it would be approved.

The “constructive comments” from the EU Commission encouraged the Ministry of Agriculture to continue to pursue the path of making German agriculture more crisis-proof and sustainable, a spokesman said on Saturday at the request of the German Press Agency. Questions raised by the commission will probably be clarified with the federal states next week. Talks are also planned with associations and organizations in May. According to the ministry, the aim is for the amended plan to be approved by Brussels by autumn.

The German Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) and the German Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) already announced at the time that the plans missed “the goals for climate protection, the restoration of biodiversity, the expansion of organic farming and the conversion of livestock farming”.

Specifically, the Commission’s reply to the German plan also states that, in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany must specify how, for example, dependence on fossil fuels and mineral fertilizers will be reduced. The ministry replied that the request was “logical” since Germany submitted its strategic plan before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The fears of environmentalists have now also been confirmed insofar as the Commission assumes that the German plan will only partially contribute to strengthening environmental protection, biodiversity and climate protection, for example within the framework of the Paris climate agreement. In the agreement, Germany also undertakes to limit permanent warming to well below 2 and, if possible, below 1.5 degrees Celsius. They agree with the Commission, “that there is further development potential in the CAP strategic plan, especially with regard to the environmental and climate-related goals,” says the Ministry of Agriculture.