Developing CAP Strategic Plans

Brussels returns to business this week, but slowly from the perspective of deciding on the shape of the CAP post 2020. COMAGRI is scheduled to meet on Wednesday 4 September to discuss the Union’s general budget for the financial year 2020. Also on the agenda is an item “Approval of recommendations from AGRI Coordinators” which may reveal how the Committee plans to proceed with the CAP post 2020 files.

The choices range from endorsing the work of the previous Committee and forwarding its Reports to the new Parliament for adoption, to starting afresh to re-examine the Commission’s proposal. According to Euractiv reporting in late July, the AGRI Coordinators are leaning towards a middle way, resubmitting the Reports to the Committee and keeping them open to new amendments but without radical changes (though its not clear to me how that would be enforced).

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Market and trade effects of the next CAP reform

It is not possible to be definitive about the market and trade effects of the next CAP reform, for two reasons. One is that the Commission’s legislative proposal published in June 2018 is just that, a proposal, that may well be altered, even quite radically, before the new CAP regulations are agreed. The other is that, under the Commission’s proposal, Member States are given significantly more flexibility than they have at present to craft their own agricultural policy interventions in the context of their CAP Strategic Plans. Until these Plans are approved, it is not possible to predict, inter alia, the level of environmental and climate ambition that EU farmers will be asked to meet after 2020, the extent of targeting and redistribution of Pillar 1 direct payments, or the use that will be made of coupled payments.

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Commission Proposals on CAP: Will this become another decade of biodiversity decline?

We are pleased to welcome this guest contribution from Trees Robijns, Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer, NABU (BirdLife in Germany) and Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, who react to the Commission legislation proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy post 2020 published earlier today.

We have seen it all before: CAP reform. The same old CAP reform. To many of us following the process in detail, we are always in the run up to, in the middle of, or in the aftermath of a CAP reform. It feels like a never ending story of small incremental steps which, only to the absolute “uber-CAP-nerd”, lead in a clear direction.

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Decoding the CAP Communication

The CAP Communication was published by the Commission on 29 November last. In a previous post, I commented on an early leaked draft of this Communication. A number of changes in emphasis were added in the final version but the basic structure of the proposal has not changed. It is nonetheless worth to revisit the document and the Commission’s suggested vision for the direction of the CAP after 2020.
Much of the initial reaction both in the meeting of the European Parliament’s AGRI Committee to which Commissioner Hogan presented the Communication on the day of its publication (the video can be watched here) and at the December meeting of the AGRIFISH Council where Agriculture Ministers had their first chance to discuss the document (the discussion was held in private session but Vice President Katainen’s speaking notes are available and the subsequent press conference can be viewed here) focused on the proposed new delivery model for the CAP.
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AGRIFISH Council meeting underlines pressures to reverse CAP reform

Agricultural Ministers had a round table discussion on the future of the CAP at yesterday’s AGRIFISH Council meeting in Brussels. This was based on an orientation paper prepared by the Maltese Presidency.
The orientation paper identified six CAP priorities. These included the three previously identified by the Commissioner – building resilience, responding to environmental challenges, and generational renewal – and three others – investing in rural viability and vitality, maintaining a market orientation and strengthening farmers’ position in the food chain. Ministers were invited to answer the following questions:

    In your view, what would be most effective way to address the CAP priorities?
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More on the future of direct payments

Yesterday, I had the privilege of presenting my report on the future of direct payments to a workshop on the future of the CAP after 2020 organised by the AGRI Committee in the European Parliament and its Policy Department (AGRI Research). I reproduce below my statement to the workshop which attempted to convey the flavour of my report.

It is an honour to be invited to address you today on the background note that I have prepared on the future of direct payments. Direct payments accounted for around 72% of the CAP budget and for just less than 30% of the EU budget in recent years.

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Prospects for CAP reform after 2020

Even though the ink is hardly dry on the 2013 CAP reform, thoughts are turning already to the prospects for the next reform. I have already discussed some aspects relevant to the CAP post 2020 in this post, focusing in particular on a possible timetable of reform and some political economy issues likely to be important in determining the scope and ambition of any revision to the current regulations. I subsequently elaborated that post as a chapter in a book edited by Jo Swinnen on The Political Economy of the 2014-2020 Common Agricultural Policy: An Imperfect Storm which will be published next month (more on that book in due course).
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