CAP proposal gives E.U. member nations greater flexibility

by Susan Reidy
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Phil Hogan, E.U. commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said the CAP communication will deliver on new and emerging objectives.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Proposed reforms to the E.U.’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) would give member nations more flexibility in how to meet the E.U.’s goals.

The European Commission adopted on Nov. 29 a CAP reform communication, “The Future of Food and Farming,” that includes simpler rules and a more flexible approach. Allowing member states greater responsibilities to choose how and where to invest their CAP funding in order to meet common goals on environment, climate change and sustainability is the flagship initiative, the commission said.

“Moving from a one-size-fits-all to a tailor-made approach means that the E.U. requirements will be reduced to a strict minimum,” the commission said. “The actual needs on the ground will be assessed and fed by member states into a CAP strategic plan approved at E.U. level.”

The commission launched on Feb. 2 a consultation on the future CAP to simplify and modernize one of the E.U.’s oldest policies. Discussion and work on the objectives will continue in the coming months with legislative CAP proposals expected before summer 2018.

In the most recent communication, the commission said each member state would create a CAP strategic plan that would take into account location conditions and needs against E.U. objectives and targets.

“At the same time, member states would also have a greater say in designing the compliance and control framework applicable to beneficiaries (including controls and penalties),” the commission said. “While member states should bear greater responsibility and be more accountable as to how they meet the objectives and achieve agreed targets, the new approach will continue to ensure a level playing field, preserving the common nature and the two pillars of the policy.”

Phil Hogan, commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said the communication will deliver on new and emerging objectives such as bolstering environmental care and climate action.

Rather than on compliance, more attention will be given to the monitoring progress and ensure funding is focused on concrete results.

Other proposals include:

  • Encouraging the use of modern technologies to support farmers on the ground and provide greater market transparency and certainty.
  • Greater attention to encourage young people to take up farming, to be coordinated with member states’ own powers in such areas as land taxation, planning and skills development.
  • Address citizens’ concerns regarding sustainable agricultural production, including health, nutrition, food waste and animal welfare.
  • Seek coherent action among its policies in line with its global dimension, notably on trade, migration and sustainable development.
  • Creating an E.U.-level platform on risk management on how best to help farmers cope with the uncertainty of climate, market volatility and other risks.
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