Anyone itching to find out what the Commission will be proposing for the CAP health check next Tuesday 20 November need look no further. DG Agri is as leaky as the proverbial sieve and after the jump we have for your reading pleasure the latest version of the consultation document, including a markup of changes made since the AgraFacts leak back in October.
– The new text includes a new line about limits on the very largest farm subsidy payments: “Limitations will take into account the need to respect the economic sustainability of large farms and to avoid circumventing such measures by splitting farms.”
– Deletion of bullish language on ‘the biofuels revolution’, and insertion of text about mitigating the negative effects of biofuel crop cultivation on biodiversity. This can be interpreted as a small victory by DG Environment and green NGOs like BirdLife International over the biofuels boosters in DG Agriculture and DG Energy.
– Explicit mention of the EU budget review scheduled for 2008/09 and the fact that the CAP Health Check will not prejudge this fundamental review of the EU budget. “During 2007 and 2008 the Commission in its communication ‘Reforming the budget, changing Europe’ will develop its approach to the budgetary review 2008/9. The Health Check constitutes a preparatory action within this framework, without prejudging the outcome of this review.” This has all the hallmarks of a powerful intervention by EU Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskait?, who has been voicing increasingly strident criticisms of the agricultural expenditure component of the EU budget.
More analysis will follow from our team of experts.