French farmers strip to protest EU policy reform

Farmers around France have started posting online photos of them half-naked in a social media campaign to express their ire over the CAP reforms set to take effect from 2023, which they say would burden agricultural workers in the country.

Organic farmers, like Elise Besse-Joulin, denounce a 66% reduction in subsidies and a preference to support high-environmental value (HVE) farming, which is not required to give up the use of certain chemical products, such as pesticides.

The CAP will spend 387 billion euros ($473 billion), around a third of the EU's 2021-2027 budget, on payments to farmers and support for rural development, with new rules kicking in from 2023.

The revamp aims to align agriculture with the EU's target of zero net emissions by 2050, by tackling the 10% of EU greenhouse gases emitted by farming.

The proposed changes have come under fire from environmental campaigners, who say they lack firm targets and would allow the bulk of subsidies to be spent on polluting forms of industrial farming.

The latest proposal would set aside 23% of payments to farmers from 2023 for schemes that safeguard the environment, and 25% from 2025 onwards.

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