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In reaction to the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, the EU decided to reinforce its budget for the Common Agricultural Policy by an extra €7.5 billion. This memo clarifies the rules that will govern the distribution of the recovery budget for rural development for the next two years. At a crucial time, when farmers truly need to be supported in the fight against climate change, soil degradation and biodiversity loss – to which the spread of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 is closely linked – the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union turned their back on the green recovery of agriculture. Member States can make the difference when submitting their rural development plans to the European Commission, by establishing financing strategies that are directed at environmental and climate actions.