Agriculture Commissioner designate Dacian Ciolos will appear in a confirmation hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels this Friday. Here is a list of 25 questions that MEPs should put the man who – subject to their approval – will set the agenda for European food and farming policy over the next five years.
The hearing will be webcast live, between 9am and noon, Brussels time.
1. Should maximising food production in Europe be a central objective of the CAP?
2. How would you respond to those who say it is hard to make the case for the CAP as a policy to support farm incomes when there are six and seven figure subsidies being paid every year to the likes of the Queen of England and Prince Albert of Monaco?
3. What is your opinion on the variation in rates of direct payments between new member states and the EU-15? Is any action is required to to address the issue?
4. Do production controls have a role in the future of the CAP?
5. Are you in favour of strengthening or relaxing the cross compliance conditions for those receiving direct payments?
6. Has the CAP gone too far down the road of decoupling subsidies from production – or not far enough?
7. What is your opinion of the US’s programme of counter-cyclical farm subsidies? Could such a system of direct payments that vary according to market prices be appropriate for the EU?
8. In terms of farm structures and farm sizes, where is European farming headed? What farm structures should be encouraged in the New Member States?
9. Do you agree that direct payments increase the market price of land and therefore make it harder for young farmers to start new farm businesses? What should be done?
10. What lessons should be drawn from the crisis in the dairy industry in 2009?
11. What is needed to reach an agreement on the trade negotiations in the Doha Development Agenda?
12. The EU maintains high tariffs on certain key agricultural commodities and products even though this makes food more expensive for European shoppers. Will you seek to reduce tariff levels?
13. Do you pledge the end of all EU export subsidies by 2013?
Environment and rural development
14. There is currently a lot of talk about public goods. What, in your opinion, are the public good that are most relevant in the context of agricultural policy?
15. Is it your opinion that some types of farming are better for the environment than others that, in some cases, can be very damaging to the environment. How should the CAP take account of these differences?
16. Should agri-environment support be restricted to farmers or should anyone who manages land and can potentially provide environmental services be eligible for aid?
17. Do you consider that the proper place for European rural economic development policy is as part of European regional policy, not as part of the CAP?
18. Do you agree that agriculture should be included in any European plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and not given special exemptions?
19. Should the CAP have a new ‘third pillar’ to help Europe mitigate and adapt to climate change? If so, what kind of policy measures would it contain?
Reforming the CAP
20. What will be your main objectives and guiding principles for the CAP post 2013?
21. Are you in favour of retaining the two pillar structure of the CAP and if so, what advantages do you see?
22. Would you favour the further use of modulation to shift funds from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 of the CAP?
23. Is there a linkage between the CAP and the issue of national budgetary imbalances and various corrections and rebates in the EU budget?
24. How do you regard the connection between decisions on the shape of the CAP post-2013 and decisions on the EU financial perspectives for 2013-2020?
25. In future, should the first pillar of CAP, like the second pillar, and much of the rest of the EU budget, be nationally co-financed?