Commitments to rural development spending 76% below forecast in 2014

The publication by the Commission of its second Draft Amending Budget (DAB No.2) to the EU’s 2015 budget this week reveals in stark figures the extent of the hiatus in CAP rural development spending caused by the delays in passing the relevant legislation and in approving rural development programmes. I first highlighted how approval of rural development programmes was falling way behind schedule in this post; the Commission’s budget figures now allow us to quantify the extent of the damage.
The delays do not affect only rural development programmes but all programmes under the European Structural and Investment Funds, the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund.

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Agricultural implications of British EU withdrawal for rest of the EU

This Sunday, the Greek general election may decide if Greece will leave the Eurozone, sometimes referred to as Grexit. None of the likely winners of the election, including Syriza, want this, but if there is an unwillingness to address the restructuring of Greek debt, particularly given Syriza’s promises to dramatically increase public spending, this could be the outcome. Whether Greece would then remain a member of the EU if this were to happen is uncertain, with The Economist arguing this week that, in all likelihood, Greece would have to leave the EU as well.
Later this year, on 7 May, the British general election takes place.

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Impact of the MFF negotiations on the CAP 2013 reform

The CAP 2013 reform was the first negotiated under the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision) in which both the Parliament and the Council had equal powers. A project undertaken by the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels for the European Parliament’s Policy Department has sought to examine what impact and influence the Parliament had on the CAP 2013 out-turn as a result of co-decision. Did co-decision give the Parliament a greater opportunity to influence the final outcome, who were the key players in shaping the Parliament’s views and what did the Parliament use its influence to achieve?
The final study, when it is published, will throw light on these issues.

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Simplification as a top priority in 2015

The heading of this post is taken from the title of the speech delivered by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan when addressing the EP COMAGRI on 3 December last. It follows his commitment in his confirmation hearings to a simplification and subsidiarity strategy for the CAP. It seems simplification will be a big buzz word in CAP discussions in 2015. But what can we expect from this initiative, and how important is it likely to be in practice?
Simplification: a Sisyphean task

CAP simplification has been a mantra of all previous Commissioners. For example, shortly after taking up office as Commissioner for Agriculture in 1995, Franz Fischler, in a speech on 28 September 1995, declared:

For my part, I intend to contribute to review existing E.U.

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