A long way to go for a new CAP

Paolo DE CASTRO, Jerzy BUZEK, Marek SAWICKI. IPTC Copyright © European Union 2011 PE-EP


ARC update from Brussels

On November 7th 2011, for the first time ever, the three European institutions met for an informal early exchange on CAP reform proposals. But was it an historic moment as celebrated by Paolo de Castro, chair of the EU Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development?

At the very least, it was an interesting public debate between Commissioner Cioloş, Members of the European Parliament and a number of farm ministers and state secretaries of the EU Member States – rather than the usual negotiation session held behind closed doors. Representatives from all countries and institutions exchanged views on the recently published legislative proposals of the Commission on the CAP after 2013.

This has indeed never happed before. But as the Parliament now has co-decision rights on farm policies, the Commission and Council of Ministers have to listen more carefully to the directly elected MEPs. And there seems to be taste for more. Following this meeting, there will be a hearing with European stakeholder organisations on November 23rd and a workshop with selected experts on December 7th, hosted by the Polish Council Presidency and Commissioner Cioloş. These events however will not necessarily welcome a broader public to participate.

IPTC Copyright © European Union 2011 PE-EP

The most remarkable aspect of the four hour debate was that, at this early stage of legislative work, virtually nobody dared to check the contribution of the legislative package against the often demanded “renewal, innovation or paradigm shift of European agriculture” and rural areas, and how far apart the worlds of ministers and deputies really are when they start discussing the details of the reform proposals. The key issue that everybody referred to was how much money would be available for CAP in general and to whom it should go – those who should get more competitive on markets or those who deliver public goods to society and stay in business.

Commissioner Cioloş tried to defend himself against the wave of criticism he has received from all sides since his proposals were published, inviting his critics to read the details more carefully before dismissing the reform as a whole. In particular, he highlighted his commitment to bring farmers’ interests and the expectations of society as a whole together in a path towards sound management of resources in farming and innovation in rural economies.

For more information on MEP and Member State reactions at the debate, find a further blog piece here

Watch a recording of the event here