EU having a ‘catastrophic’ impact on natural world claims environmentalist

EU will 'respect' Brexit decision says Sir John Redwood

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George Monbiot, an author and campaigner against climate change, made the claim on his Twitter account. It follows a row over EU boats fishing yellowfin tuna in the Indian Ocean which has led to accusations of “neocolonialism”.

Mr Monbiot admitted he “will lose friends over this thread” before arguing the EU is not a force for good in the world, though he did claim membership had been in Britain’s national interest.

He commented: “If we take the field I know best, the EU has some good environmental rules.

“But its overall impact on the living world is catastrophic.

“This [yellowfin tuna fishing] is just the latest of its many assaults: subsidised piracy, that has so far resisted all attempts at redress.”

Britain formally left the EU after 47 years of membership in January 2020.

However it remained in a Brexit transition phase until the end of December, during which the UK still had to follow many EU rules and pay into the Brussels budget.

Britain now trades with the EU based on the deal agreed by Boris Johnson and has a fully independent trade policy.

Mr Monbiot argued the EU’s bureaucratic nature makes it difficult for campaigners to shift policies.

He said: “The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), by far the biggest item in its budget, is one of the most destructive forces on Earth.

“The perverse incentives it creates have destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of prime habitat.

“The same goes for its biofuel incentives, which have wrecked forests from Indonesia to Estonia. It ignored all warnings.

“Trying to change these policies involves battling through almost impenetrable layers of bureaucracy and resistance.


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“The problem seems to be that governments can hide behind the European Council and European Commission.

“On behalf of corporate lobbyists, they quietly push through policies they would never dare to propose at home.”

Writing for Politico Europe in 2018 Michael Gove, then the Environment Secretary, vowed to introduce a “Green Brexit” that would “enhance our landscapes, rivers, coastline and wildlife”.

The minister revealed “one of the main reasons” he backed Brexit was the EU’s CAP and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), arguing “neither properly put the environment first”.

There is anger in Asia that the EU, which takes more yellowfin tuna from the Indian Ocean than any local country, is resisting strong new restrictions to allow the population to recover.

The bloc was accused of “hypocrisy and neo-colonialism” by a fishery official from the Seychelles.

Mr Monbiot argued the power of corporate lobbyists over the EU means the bloc is beyond reform.

He commented: “As the EU’s post-war role in securing peace fades in importance beside its current role in driving the collapse of the Earth’s living systems, I believe the balance tilts against it. I now think it does more harm than good.

“Several people have responded to this thread by saying “so the answer is to reform the EU”. But the examples I’ve given suggest to me that it’s unreformable.

“The corporate lobbyists are dug in too deep. Look at the new CAP round: nothing learnt, nothing improved.”

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