On Monday the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee (COMAGRI) voted on the remaining issues on CAP reform. This follows the substantive agreement in June in Ireland and the final trilogue between Parliament, Council and Commission last week, where the Council strong-armed the Parliament into ceding its position, aided by the Commission. The committee vote still needs to be confirmed by Parliament as a whole in a plenary vote at the November session.
“The co-decision procedure on CAP reform has been a long, epic process, full of delays and brinkmanship. In the end however, it also represents, unfortunately, a missed opportunity to really, radically reform the CAP. The momentum now turns to member states” Samuel Feret, ARC2020’s coordinator said.
Substantial reform has been bypassed in favour of business as usual, questioning the whole notion of co-decision making and trilogue. The Council, together with anti-reform COMAGRI members opposed capping payments to even the wealthiest, while watering down greening with exemptions and loopholes and maintaining polluting and export dumping practices.
Specifically The COMAGRI vote dealt with outstanding issues on DP (Direct Payments), CMO (Common Organisation of Markets), RD (Rural Development) and HZR (Horizontal Regulations).
COMAGRI votes were as follows:
(for: against: abstention ) DP = 31:8:2 CMO = 27:14:0 RD = 35:3:3 HZR = 35:6:0.
Direct Payments: this vote will allow loopholes for pesticides, fertilisers and potentially even GMOs in Ecological Focus Areas (EFA’s). There are no caps on payments, even for the wealthiest. Large transfers, in some cases up to 25%, from the already deprived Pillar 2 to Pillar 1 will also be allowed; even member states with above-average direct payment rates can bleed 15% from the rural development Pillar to top up direct payments. Vote: 31:8:2
Common Organisation of Markets: export subsidies are still allowed, which will retain damaging food dumping of surpluses, weakening markets in developing countries outside the EU. There were no satisfactory solutions for matching supply with demand and preventing surplus production in the dairy sector. Vote: 27:14:0
Rural Development: some positives in here, but mainly as options for member states. Other aspects of this CAP agreement could negate these positives however. For example, costly crop insurance schemes and Pillar 2 to 1 transfers could negate gains on ring fencing environment and climate programmes here. Vote: 35:3:3
Horizontal Regulation: Here, advisory services for farmers based on agro-ecological principles are now possible, while there are also sanctions for farmers not carrying out greening measures, as well as the principle that factory farming would not be funded under the CAP as it generates externalised health and environmental costs. However rules banning conversion of carbon rich pastures, on antibiotic resistance, and monitoring the impact of the CAP on the environment and food security in less developed countries were all weakened or dropped. The addition of rules based on the water and pesticides framework directives was relegated to a note in the EU official journal which may or may not be honoured later. Vote: 35:6:0.
There are now opportunities to target the member states to take up the options available and make the best of a bad job, especially in Pillar 2, the rural development Pillar.
For more contact:
Oliver Moore (ARC2020’s EU Correspondent) (email@example.com)
Arc2020 have developed a monthly updated toolkit for CAP reform and Rural Development implementation. Key action opportunities are outlined in this document, which can be found here.
ARC2020 is a network of 150+ civil society, agri-food and environmental organisations working to make good food, good farming and better EU policy.