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A Green light from the European Parliament
for CAP 2014/2020 negotiations with Brussels

Frédéric Hénin, Editor in chief, Terre-net

Article published on Terre-net Média

Nearly two-thirds of members have adopted four reports that make up the proposed reform of the European Paliament’s CAP. As early as April, a round of negotiations will be opened with the European Commission and the European Council to reach a policy agreement by the end of June.

474 members out of 686 mandated the four rapporteurs of the reports of the European Parliament’s (EP) Agricultural Commission to negotiate CAP reform with the European Commission and the European Council of Agriculture Ministers, which will be applied from 2014. This is a direct result of the co-decision introduced since the Treaty of Lisbon.

Before adopting these four reports which, for the EP will be the basis for the next negotiations, the members voted one by one the 507 last amendments for which members of the Agriculture Committee had failed to reach an agreement.

For the reform to be applicable from 2014, the negotiation schedule looks very tight from the outset. In the next few days, the Council of Ministers of Agriculture will mandate its representatives so that discussions can begin next April to reach a policy agreement by the end of the Irish presidency of the European Union, or even next July. Then it will be up to the European Commission to prepare the regulations necessary for the reform to be effective during the second half of 2013.

But farmers are urgently expecting strong signals for the solutions to their income problems. Yet, with 2014 looming, they have no certainty that the forthcoming reform will meet their expectations.

Satisfaction for the Committee on Agriculture

In Strasbourg, the Committee on Agriculture was quick to express its joy at finding that members have not only voted a negotiating mandate, but also approved the latest amendments that it supports.

The four representatives including Luis Manuel Capoulas (in charge of direct payments), Paolo de Castro (rural development) and Michel Dantin (CMO) consider that Parliament has given them a negotiating mandate that they will be able to effectively apply to defend agriculture and European farmers. That said, these negotiations will take place even though there is no agreement on the EU budget for 2014/2020, because for the moment, the EP has still not made a decision on this point. However, the Commission is considering that the credits defined on 8th February at the meeting of the heads of State and Government will be at least confirmed.

This morning, before returning to plenary, the rapporteurs of the EP Agriculture Committee envisioned that the budget compromise with the European Council for 2014/2020 could be based on the possibility of making budget implementation flexible, allowing the transfer of credits and a mid-point review of its revenues. If economic growth has returned, it would be possible for example to consider that the European Union develops its own resources to increase its budget.

Dacian Ciolos reacts to the vote of the European Parliament

After the adoption of the four reports on CAP reform by the members, the European Agriculture Commissioner also expressed his satisfaction. The last voted amendments have highlighted for him the points of convergence between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Thus, the greening of direct aid from the first pillar or even the removal of beet quotas has been retained in principle by the three parties.

Dacian Ciolos is also pleased that the European Parliament is opposed to double payments. In other words, that the same surface can claim both aid related to greening (1st pillar) and the second pillar. Agri-environmental measures should be based on a stricter criteria than those used for greening.

The negotiators will have to reach common ground on the proportion of aid recoupled (10% for the Commission, 15% for the European Parliament) or even the level of surface of ecological interest to be deducted under equal conditions. Because he is anxious to simplify the CAP and not create distortions, the European Commissioner has stated that he will be very strict with regards the criteria to be retained.

Another stumbling block, this time between the European Council, the Commission and Parliament: the convergence of aid. It will be necessary to define the rules to accomplish this whilst taking into account certain specific features. It will also be necessary to agree on the capping of direct aid and the next classification table of disadvantaged zones to strengthen the legitimacy and transparency of the allocated aid from 2014.

However, the European Commissioner for Agriculture recognizes that the Parliament, more rigorous with regards everything related to market management and the strengthening of sector organizations favourable to farmers, has issued ideas that he is willing to consider.

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Paris, 25 June 2019