The decisions by MEPs and the Council of EU governments to create more flexibility for farm subsidies were welcomed by some farming groups, but widely criticised by environmentalists.
The RSPB claims that the deal negotiated as part of the bargain between EU leaders at their budget summit in Brussels reduced proposed conservation spending by £9.5bn.
RSPB’s Martin Harper said: “Wildlife across Europe will pay a heavy price for this terribly regressive deal. Since the 1980s, Europe has lost 300 million farmland birds. How many more will we lose over the next seven years?”
While Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard welcomed a proposal that 20 per cent of all EU spending would have to be beneficial to the climate, critics said the rules were so vague that all sorts of activities would simply be redefined as climate change spending.
A spokesman for the European Commission said political leaders had weakened the language on greening the CAP.