Tag Archives: Common Agricultural Policy

EU Flagship Initiative on Resource Efficiency Launched

The European Commission has launched a very important flagship initiative on resource efficiency under the Europe 2020 Strategy. The Commission believes that increasing resource efficiency will be key to securing growth and jobs for Europe. It will bring major economic opportunities, improve productivity, drive down costs and boost competitiveness.

The most important medium-term policy measures are:

• An energy efficiency plan with a time horizon of 2020 which will identify measures to achieve energy savings of 20% across all sectors, and which will be followed by legislation to ensure energy efficiency and savings;

• Proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, Cohesion Policy, energy infrastructure and trans-European networks for transport in the context of the next EU budget to align these areas with the requirements of a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy;

• A new EU biodiversity strategy for 2020 to halt further loss to and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services in the light of pressures on ecosystems;

• Measures to tackle the challenges in commodity markets and on raw materials which will, amongst others, periodically assess critical raw materials and define a trade policy to ensure sustainable supplies of raw materials from global markets. These measures will promote extraction, recycling, research, innovation and substitution inside the EU;

• A strategy to make the EU a ‘circular economy’, based on a recycling society with the aim of reducing waste generation and using waste as a resource;

• Early action on adaptation to climate change to minimise threats to ecosystems and human health, support economic development and help adjust our infrastructures to cope with unavoidable climate change;

• A water policy that makes water saving measures and increasing water efficiency a priority, in order to ensure that water is available in sufficient quantities, is of appropriate quality, is used sustainably and with minimum resource input, and is ultimately returned to the environment with acceptable quality.

Three Options for the Future of the Common Agricultural Policy

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.

  1. adjusting most pressing shortcomings in the CAP through gradual changes;
  2. making the CAP greener, fairer, more efficient, and more effective; and
  3. 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.

 

 

European Parliament Positions on Financial Regulation and Agriculture

The European Parliament has outlined its policy preferences on two very important subjects – financial regulation reform and the Common agricultural Policy (CAP).

On financial regulation the EP wants a strengthening of the powers of the three European supervisory authorities (ESAs) – the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, and the European Securities and Markets Authority. The Parliament wants for the ESAs to be able to issue decisions directly to a financial institution such as a bank, where the national supervisor has not been able to change some of its practices that are considered unsound. The ESAs would also have the power to settle disputes between national supervisors.

On the Common Agricultural Policy the European Parliament says that funding should be maintained “at least maintained during the next financial period” (2013-2020). MEPs call for more objective criteria, partly to reduce disparities in direct payments, considering the current “hectare basis” inappropriate, and partly to reflect regional diversity. The Parliament believes that geographical indications of origin need to be strengthened and enforced. The EP proposes strengthening producers’ bargaining power in the food supply chain vis-à-vis the retailers and other players and improving price transparency. This position aligns the Parliament with the position of Member States that oppose a radical reform of the CAP. The Commission and other Member States, however, believe that the funding for the CAP should be reduced, and used elsewhere for boosting the overall competitiveness of the EU.

Public Debate on the Future of European Agriculture

The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş, has launched a public debate on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the European Union. The debate will focus on the Common Agricultural Policy’s future, objectives, principles and contribution to the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy to inform the preparatory work for the decision-making process.

An independent body will then produce a summary of these contributions. In July 2010, the European Commission will organise a conclusive conference on the public debate. The Commission will present its communication on CAP in the end of 2010.