Rural development: a bad start for Stéphane Le Foll?
According to French environmental organisations, Stéphane Le Foll, the new minister for agriculture has got off to a bad start. At the most recent European Council held on June 18th, he opposed a European Commission proposal to allocate at least 25% of European funds to agri-environmental measures and organic agriculture.
The current French RD programs for 2007-2013 already spend 55% of EAFRD on these measures, including less-favoured areas and grassland premium.
Isabelle Laudon, head of European policy at the WWF France, deems this decision as “a very bad political signal.” Le Monde commented that “if it does not make substantial ‘greening’ efforts, the CAP will lose the support of NGOs.”
According to Ouest-France, the new agriculture minister feels that Rural Development policy needs flexibility to adapt these funds to the realities of French regions. Indeed the ministry does not exclude a partial decentralization of EAFRD programs for the next 2014-2020 period.
However, it seems that the new minister was only defending his administration and not his own vision. Newly elected as Member of the Parliament just one day before the Council meeting, it seems he did not take the time to get up to date on the previous government position on the CAP reform. Let’s hope the summer break gives allows him to catch up on his homework.