Mr Oettinger’s budget arithmetic

Two events in the previous week give us a much clearer idea of what to expect for the CAP budget in the Commission’s proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) at the end of May. Of course, the Commission’s proposal is only the start of the MFF negotiations. The MFF must ultimately be agreed unanimously by all Member States and (for the own resources decision) by their national parliaments, and also gain the approval of a majority in the European Parliament. Much can happen between the initial proposal and the final Council conclusions.

The two events in the previous week were Budget Commissioner Oettinger’s speech setting out his approach to the MFF proposal at a meeting in Brussels organised by the European Political Strategy Centre, the Commission’s in-house think tank, and his comments following the first presentation of his ideas to the Commission College.… Read the rest

Another look at the possible Brexit implications for the CAP budget

Preparations within the Commission for its next MFF proposal, which is now expected in May next year, are well under way. Thinking on the shape of the next MFF began in January last year with the Dutch Presidency Conference on preparing for the next MFF. In December 2016 the High Level Group on the Future Finances of the EU produced its final report and recommendations for a reform of the own resources side of the MFF. In June 2017, the Commission produced its Reflections Paper on the Future of EU Finances. This was one of a series of Reflection Papers published by the Commission in the wake of its White Paper on the Future of Europe published in March 2017.… Read the rest

Will there be a CAP reform in 2017?

On Friday last, I took part in a panel discussion at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels on the theme “Will there be a mid-term review in 2017? And, if so, what should it do?” My contribution focused on the timing and procedural issues which will influence the prospect of a substantive early review of the CAP basic acts. Other speakers on the panel (Allan Buckwell from IEEP, Rolf Moehler formerly of DG AGRI and Paolo de Castro MEP from the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament) addressed what the contents of such a review might or should be.… Read the rest

The CAP budget in the MFF agreement

Today the European Parliament approved the political agreement on the MFF reached with the Irish Presidency, thus concluding the negotiations on the EU’s medium-term financial framework until 2020. A mandatory review will be undertaken by the Commission before the end of 2016 taking account of the economic situation at that time. The actual MFF Regulation and the accompanying inter-institutional agreement including various declarations by the parties will be voted in the Parliament in the early autumn once the Council has adopted the draft MFF regulation.

The overall MFF ceiling and the allocations by heading as agreed by the European Council in February 2013 were not changed in the final agreement.… Read the rest

Agreeing the allocation of CAP funds between Member States

The great bulk of EU CAP expenditure (the Heading 2 ‘Preservation and management of natural resources’ in the 2007-2013 Multi-annual Financial Framework) is allocated to member states in the form of national ceilings under Pillar 1 and national breakdowns under Pillar 2. One of the reasons for the success of the Fischler and Health Check reforms was that they did not fundamentally alter the allocation of member state receipts.

Redistribution a central issue in CAP 2020 negotiations

The distribution of CAP funds between states is now a central issue in the CAP negotiations given the commitment to bring about greater convergence in the level of entitlement payments per hectare.… Read the rest

The future of direct payments

As Valentin’s blog post yesterday explains, the CAP is not only a European agriculture policy, it’s a European income redistribution policy. The centrepiece of the CAP is the €42 billion a year in ‘direct aids’ or income support to farmers, funded entirely from the pooled EU budget. Valentin points out that in an era of fiscal austerity, the idea of billions of euros moving from one country’s taxpayers to another country’s farmers is likely to be politically controversial. Particularly when the biggest payouts go to Europe’s wealthiest citizens and most profitable companies.

As national governments decide by how much they are going to pay of nurses and school teachers, how many university places they will cut and which taxes they are going to have to increase, the idea that aids to farmers are ringfenced from cuts will come as a surprise to many.… Read the rest