I presented a paper at a seminar of the European Association of Agricultural Economists today which reviews the debate on greening the CAP in Pillar 1 in the light of the Commission’s original legislative proposal, the discussions in the Council summarised in the Danish Presidency’s progress report this month, and the COMAGRI rapporteurs’ reports.
The message of the paper is that the greening proposals under discussion are a missed opportunity. They serve primarily to try to justify the continuation of the existing level of Pillar 1 direct payments. The Commission’s original proposals for three simple, generalisable measures would lead to limited additional environmental benefits, and the various flexibilities proposed by the Council and COMAGRI rapporteurs would reduce the additional benefits even further.
The main changes sought by the Council and COMAGRI rapporteur would make greening in Pillar 1 voluntary, would provide a range of options by which farmers could claim eligibility, and would greatly complicate the adminstration of Pillar 1, running completely counter to member states’ desire for greater simplicity. All of these features highlight the attraction of pursuing further greening through Pillar 2.
While the legislative process has advanced in response to the Commission’s proposals, there is still time to use the opportunity to ensure CAP funds can make a real environmental difference.
The paper can be downloaded here.
The paper draws on an earlier report that I wrote for the European Parliament. This report can be downloaded here.
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