Tag Archives: criteria

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 Another common element to all 3 options is the idea that the future system of direct payments cannot be based on historical reference periods, but should be linked to objective criteria.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.



The Bulgarian Democratic Deficit – 3

It is with utmost anxiety that I write this post.

It appears that today in Bulgaria democracy is crumbling. I have three specific sets of evidence for this observation:

1. Media laws are re-written in an erroneous manner, with specific considerations definitely not in the common interest. Source: Nelly Ognyanova.
2. Election law is engineered to keep one specific coalition out of parliament. This is done by doubling the threshold for coalitions from 4% to 8% (until now the threshold has been the samefor parties AND coalitions – 4%). Source: Rumyana Kolarova.
3. The leadership of a political party that participates in the aforementioned coalition has been denied registration in the Sofia District Court because it was elected by direct party elections, and, according to the court, “direct party elections have not been made [before] in Bulgaria”.

There are at least two ways to look at this. One is the scientific approach – and we can talk about deliberative democracy as defined by Habermas, or about the seminal work of Putnam on Italy’s democracy and institutions in order to draw some analogies.

But I am much more inclined to remind that Bulgaria is a Member State of the European Union, and as such should at all times comply with the Copenhagen criteria for membership and the principles laid down in Article 6(1) of the Treaty on European Union. Political criteria include stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.

Should we not comply with these criteria, where should we belong???