The Article 92 commitment to increased ambition with regard to environmental- and climate-related objectives

Article 92 of the draft CAP Strategic Plan regulation is headed “Increased ambition with regard to environmental- and climate-related objectives”. In my previous discussion of the proposed green architecture in the CAP post 2020, I interpreted this Article as a commitment to no back-sliding on expenditure on agri-environment and climate objectives in the new CAP. For this reason, I took a more positive view of the potential of the new legislation to live up to the Commission’s declared ambition in this area than reflected in initial statements from environmental NGOs.

In the wake of further conversations with Birdlife Europe who have had the benefit of discussions with DG AGRI officials, I conclude that my initial interpretation of Article 92 as guaranteeing no back-sliding in expenditure was incorrect.

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CAP strategic planning: scope and implications

We are pleased to welcome this guest post by Emil Erjavec, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Policy and Law at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. It is a version of his keynote speech to be delivered at the “The future of the CAP – L’avenir de la PAC” conference organised by Société Française d’Économie Rurale at Montpellier Supagro on 22 June 2018.

In December 2017, the European Commission published a Communication announcing a new round of important changes to the CAP post-2020; its legislative proposals, published June 1st 2018, have officially initiated it. Whether these changes are truly far-reaching and whether they contribute to a more efficient, effective and less controversial policy, will largely depend on the result of inter-institutional negotiations and later national implementation.

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The greening architecture in the new CAP

Environmental NGOs were harsh in their immediate criticism of the legislative proposals on the new CAP. Greepeace said that the EU farming plan “could spell disaster for the environment”. BirdLife Europe said that “The European Commission’s claim that the new proposal will deliver a higher environmental and climate ambition has fallen flat”, arguing that the new plan “does not guarantee any spending on biodiversity and grotesquely slashes funds ring-fenced for the environment across the board”.

Birdlife Europe has produced a detailed assessment of the Commission’s proposals in a handy tabular form, pointing out both weaknesses in the proposals themselves as well as omissions where the proposals could be strengtened (a summary of this assessment has appeared on this blog).

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France’s puzzling interest in increasing the CAP budget

The Commission’s CAP legislative proposals which were published on 1 June 2018 attracted some immediate reactions from different groups of stakeholders setting out their positions. The proposals are far-reaching and complex. Together with the impact assessment, they amount to 662 pages of text. They require time and careful analysis to fully understand. In the coming weeks, I hope to examine some of the key elements one at a time.

I begin with the budgetary allocations by Member States which are included as Annexes to the draft CAP Strategic Plans regulation. This combines the current direct payments and rural development regulations into one.

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Commission Proposals on CAP: Will this become another decade of biodiversity decline?

We are pleased to welcome this guest contribution from Trees Robijns, Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer, NABU (BirdLife in Germany) and Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, who react to the Commission legislation proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy post 2020 published earlier today.

We have seen it all before: CAP reform. The same old CAP reform. To many of us following the process in detail, we are always in the run up to, in the middle of, or in the aftermath of a CAP reform. It feels like a never ending story of small incremental steps which, only to the absolute “uber-CAP-nerd”, lead in a clear direction.

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