You can read here the agreed communiqué from the 22 countries which were invited by France to discuss the future of the CAP in Paris yesterday. The meeting itself was surrounded by some controversy given that 5 member states (UK, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Malta) were not originally invited, although the UK did send along a civil servant as an observer. The French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire talked at length about the objectives of the meeting in an extensive interview with Le Monde.
The countries attending were those which had supported the call by France and Germany for stronger measures to support dairy farmers in October this year. The meeting took place in the shadow of the start of the debate on the next financial perspective, and was in part a reaction to the leaked Commission reflections in October on the parameters for the next financial perspective, which foresaw a substantial reduction in the CAP budget.
However, the Declaration itself is merely a restatement of well-known views on the role played by European agriculture in Europe’s economy and society and adds nothing to the debate. As Ministers departed, it was clear that they were unable to draw up any list of concrete conclusions and demands. As Minister Le Maire ruefully noted: “It’s not easy to reach an accord within 22 states that defend their different options”
The Spanish Presidency which begins on 1 January has announced that it will hold two councils devoted to reflections on the future of the CAP which may give more opportunity for all member states to set out their views.