The European Commission has adopted its communication on “the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) towards 2020 – Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future”.
The Commission outlines three main options for reform.
- adjusting most pressing shortcomings in the CAP through gradual changes;
- making the CAP greener, fairer, more efficient, and more effective; and
- moving away from income support and market measures and focusing on environmental and climate change objectives.
In all 3 options, the Commission foresees the maintenance of the current system of 2 Pillars – a 1st Pillar (covering direct payments and market measures, where rules are clearly defined at EU level) and a 2nd Pillar (comprising multi-annual rural development measures, where the framework of options is set at EU level, but the final choice of schemes is left to member states or regions under joint management). Another common element to all 3 options is the idea that the future system of direct payments cannot be based on historical reference periods, but should be linked to objective criteria.
The CAP blog cites the initial critical reaction of the UK’s National Farmers Union and promises more analysis in the following days.