For an Ambitious Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy

In late 2009, leading agricultural economists from all over Europe issued a declaration on ‘A Common Agricultural Policy for European Public Goods’. They proposed the abolition of market intervention and blanket income support to farmers, and outlined a more efficient, greener CAP. Since then, DG Agriculture, the European Parliament and many member states have adopted positions that closely stick to the status quo. Now a new declaration ‘For an Ambitious Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy’ has been published. All European economists who work on agricultural policy issues are invited to join the declaration online.

The declaration states:

The need for ambitious CAP reform: The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) fails to adequately fulfill important societal objectives: to enhance biodiversity and climate protection, improve water quality, preserve scenic landscapes, increase animal welfare, promote innovative, efficient farming and fair competition in the internal market, and avoid harming farmers abroad.

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EU budget review cautious on future spending priorities

The Commission has published its long-delayed budget review which follows a public consultation on the EU budget which began as a mid-term budget review in 2008-09. An earlier version leaked last year, and apparently drafted by Commission President Barroso’s advisers (see Jack Thurston’s post on this), recommended specific targets for the reallocation of EU spending, including a reduction in agricultural spending to around one-third of the budget.

The review published today is a more anodyne document, and it shies away from making specific recommendations on which expenditure areas might see their budgets cut. In this it closely resembles the leaked document on CAP reform put into the public domain earlier this month and which also summarises the conclusions of a public consultation.

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Commission leaked draft fails to advance reform debate

The draft Commission communication on the CAP towards 2020 is an underwhelming document, not just for those seeking to push an ambitious reform agenda but also for those seeking a roadmap to address issues that the Commissioner himself has identified as up for discussion. As Mairead McGuinness, the Irish MEP, commented, it lacks both detail and substance, and is devoid of both figures and analysis.

Nonetheless, it does contain some clues on what DG Agri might like to see in the final package, however cautiously they are expressed. The language used does nudge the debate on the future CAP in slightly different directions to the current CAP.

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The circle that cannot be squared

An extended guest post by Jorge Núñez Ferrer , takes a close look at the leaked commission communication on the future of the CAP. Dr Núñez Ferrer (pictured, right) is Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies and has written widely on the CAP and the EU budget

The CAP 2020 reform philosophy has finally seen the light, albeit only in leaked form. A carefully drafted document contains the usual CAP rhetoric punctuated by some apparently strong deviations from past doctrine. But once the objectives and policy proposals are reduced to their basic components, much of the fizz disappears.

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The Commission communication leak in full

PDF to download. Main text (without footnotes and annex):

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Brussels, 2910912010
COM(2010) version finale

COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future

1. INTRODUCTION

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is confronted with a set of challenges, some unique in nature, and most unforeseen, that invite the EU to make a strategic choice for the longterm future of its agriculture and rural areas.

In preparation for this Communication, the Commission organised an extensive public debate earlier in 2010 that concluded with a conference in July 20101¥ The Council discussed during four successive Presidencies the reform, the European Parliament (EP) adopted an own initiative report on the post-2013 CAP, and its link with the Europe 2020 Strategy and both the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) have come forward with position papers.

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