ARC Newsflash December 2011

Dear friends of the ARC!

Welcome to the December issue of the ARC NEWSFLASH! Thank you for your feedback on the new website – keep it coming and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! We also now have a banner with the ARC logo which you can display on your site to let others know about our network – find it here and add it today! Discover who our web correspondents have been talking to in Latest from EU Member States, read our “main stories” and keep up to date with recent developments in the ARC blog – and don’t hesitate to get in touch and add to our lively debate on how best to make our farming and food systems more sustainable and accessible for all.

This month ARC gained exciting new signatories. One of them is Slow Food International! Work has also continued with international organisations such as the Institute for Agriculture and Trade (IATP) in the USA, as well as those working on the local level, with local action groups from England and Sweden visiting our secretariat in Brussels. We would like to encourage you all to invite more partners, working at all levels, to join the ARC.

On November 24th ARC contributed to a press statement with The European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism, the European Environmental Bureau, BirdLife Europe and IFOAM EU Group calling for all stakeholders to be involved in CAP reform talks. In addition, our collaborative article in the European Parliament Magazine featured last month has now been translated in German, Polish, French and Romanian.

The ARC team would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2012 will be a crucial year – not only for reforming the CAP. We will be facing new challenges we have not imagined in recent years. We might well have a role to play in making solidarity and fair play work between farmers, consumers and all European citizens and reverse the spirit of “save what you can” in the crises we are currently facing. We look forward to working with you!

Seasons greetings,

Kate Mann

Last month in Brussels
On 23rd November, in cooperation with the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, the Polish Presidency of the EU organised a so called conference with stakeholders and NGOs on “legislative proposals concerning the future CAP”.  Participation of the event was widely criticised. Read ARC reports here. On 6th December, the European Commission’s Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate-General organised the Annual Network Event 2011 which included a panel session with Commissioner Ciolos. On December 9th, a seminar on improving the delivery of Rural Development Programmes was held. On the 15th  and 16th December, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council met to discuss rural development aspects of the CAP (see adjacent panel). And finally, on December 19th the EU Parliament hosted the debate ‘CAP reform through analytical lenses’ where scientific experts commented on key aspects of the CAP.
December Agriculture and Fisheries Council
On 15th and 16th December, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council met in Brussels. Discussions on the CAP concentrated on the actions envisaged to address new challenges within the second pillar and the instruments proposed under rural development.  According to the Council press release, a number of Member States considered the proposal went in the right direction whilst others would like that the proposals focus more on innovation and competitiveness. Flexibility to take into account the specificity of each country at the national or regional level as well as the simplification of the procedures would be essential. Concerns were raised in terms of definitions of less favoured areas meaning some areas normally covered could be excluded. Find more information here. The next meeting will discuss single CMO regulation.
Interview with…

Simone Matouch, Forum Synergies

“The Commission’s legislative contain a lot of good options. But they do not go far enough. We want agro-ecological systems as the basis of reform…And we need a lot more concrete elements which Member States must respect when planning for more sustainable rural development programmes”

Read the full interview here