BRUSSELS, BEGIUM – The European Commission will adopt by the end of 2017 a communication on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced during the 2016 Agricultural Outlook Conference on Dec. 6.

Jean-Claude Juncker
Jean-Claude Juncker

“Simplification and modernization will be the key words and the primary objective of the communication on the future of the CAP which the commission plans to adopt before the end of 2017,” Juncker said during the event.

The first step is a public consultation that will start at the beginning of 2017, allowing for contributions on the direction that the strategic policy should take, he said.

The CAP allows the E.U. to protect its 22 million farmers and 44 million jobs that depend directly and indirectly on agriculture, Juncker said. It provides additional aid of more than €1 billion to farmers facing difficulties. This is in addition to the €56 billion in direct payments to agriculture and for rural development.

“There is no doubt that this policy should be maintained on its guiding principles. It must obviously be adjusted or supplemented when we find flaws,” Juncker said. “If the CAP is a European policy both fundamental and essential, it must be simplified to reduce the administrative burden on farmers and must be modernized to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan

In front of the roughly 400 delegates, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said that the CAP “should guarantee certain basic rules to ensure greater market resilience, more sustainable agricultural production and better renewal of generations.”

Hogan said he has reflected on the early implementation of the CAP and identifying areas in which it could be improved, based on the crises in a number of sectors. The CAP must ensure: greater market resilience; more sustainable agricultural production; and progress on generational renewal.

Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete and Karmenu Vella were also among the many speakers on the first day of the conference, under the general theme, “Climate Change and Resource Availability: Challenges for E.U. Agriculture.”

The second day of the event will focus on the 10-year market outlook report for the dairy, meat and cereal markets from 2016-2026, published to coincide with the conference.

All speeches and presentations will be posted on the conference website as the conference progresses.