Family farming and the role of policy in the EU

Last week Dacian Ciolos welcomed the launch of the UN’s International Year of Family Farming 2014 and on Friday this week the Commission is holding a conference in Brussels on “Family farming: A dialogue towards more sustainable and resilient farming in Europe and in the world”.

The Commissioner emphasised that over 95% of farm holdings in the EU are family farms, and that “family farms are the foundations on which Europe’s Common agricultural policy was built. They continue to stay at the heart of European agriculture as robust generators of competitiveness, growth and jobs, of dynamic and sustainable rural economies.”

Others take a different view of structural developments in EU farming.… Read the rest

The 2014 CAP transition year

The Council announced last Wednesday (October 23) that a political agreement had been reached with the Parliament on the transition measures for agriculture in 2014. This follows the publication of the Commission proposal in April and the adoption of the COMAGRI position in September (the relevant documents are available here in the European Parliament Legislative Observatory)
For direct payments and rural development, the new CAP rules will start to apply as from 1 January 2015. Council and Parliament agreed in June to postpone the implementation of the new rules on direct payments until 1 January 2015, but this seems to be the first time that the institutions have agreed that the start of rural development programmes should be pushed back to 1 January 2015.… Read the rest

The CAP budget in the MFF Part 3 – Pillar 2 rural development allocations

When the European Council agreed on the EU’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 in February this year, the overall allocation to the CAP’s Pillar 2 was made known but not the individual allocations to member states. Apparently, in order to secure a final agreement, each member state was told its own allocation but not that of the other countries.

It was not until May, after repeated requests from the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the rural development regulation, Luis Capoulas Santos, that the Commission communicated the individual country totals to the Parliament negotiators in the trilogue process. However, until the publication of the European Parliament secretariat’s Note European Council Conclusions on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 and the CAP these figures were not generally available.… Read the rest

What will change in EU rural development policies after 2013?

The Commission’s draft rural development regulation in its CAP post-2013 package has attracted much less attention than the direct payments and single common market organisation regulations. But while the rural development regulation has given rise to fewer controversies, there will be changes in the ways rural development programmes are implemented and managed.
These changes were outlined and discussed in the presentation by Francesco Mantino (INEA, Italy) on the EU’s new rural development policy after 2013 given as part of the session on the state of the CAP reform negotiations at the annual conference of the Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics in Parma.… Read the rest

Forum on CAP reform

I did not get time before Christmas to draw attention to the Forum on the Common Agricultural Policy after 2013, a series of articles on the CAP reform process published in the Nov/Dec issue of Intereconomics. This is a review of European economic policy published jointly by the Centre for European Policy Studies and the Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. I contributed one of the articles, and the contributions of my colleagues are uniformly excellent even if they take different views on some of the main issues.
The full list of contents is as follows:
Jean-Christophe Bureau Where is the Common Agricultural Policy heading?Read the rest

Correction: Rural development funds allocation

There has been much interest in the provenance of the figures on the allocation of rural development funding between member states which I discussed in this post earlier this week. In the post I said that these were figures circulated by Herman van Rompuy during the special European Council meeting to discuss the MFF on November 22-23. Having spoken with some people who were present at the Council meeting I can now confirm that Van Rompuy did not circulate these figures at that meeting. I believe the figures were prepared by well-placed sources but they are not official figures and I regret any confusion which my incorrect assignation may have caused.… Read the rest

Rural development funds allocation hits new member states

Update 15 December 2012: I have now learned that I was incorrect to attribute the table of allocation of rural development funds to Van Rompuy in this post and these figures were not circulated at the European Council meeting as I suggest. I regret the error but I have left the post stand unedited as an example of one possible distribution of funds being discussed in the negotiations. But as of this date no official proposed allocation has been made, see fuller discussion here)

In previous posts I had wondered how member states were expected to come to an agreement on the MFF for the 2014-2020 period at the special European Council meeting at the end of the November without being aware of the proposed allocation of Pillar 2 rural development funds under the CAP.… Read the rest

What role for agriculture in rural development?

The European Commission partially justifies the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU with the CAP’s contribution to ‘viable rural communities’. Maintaining viable rural communities was one of the three strategic aims for the CAP set out in the Commission’s Communication on the CAP towards 2020 in November 2010. It was justified in the following terms:

To maintain viable rural communities, for whom farming is an important economic activity creating local employment; this delivers multiple economic, social, environmental and territorial benefits….
Agriculture is an integral part of the European economy and society. In terms of indirect effects, any significant cut back in European farming activity would in turn generate losses in GDP and jobs in linked economic sectors – notably within the agri-food supply chain, which relies on the EU primary agricultural sector for high quality, competitive and reliable raw material inputs, as well as in non-food sectors.

Read the rest

A mandatory minimum spending requirement on agri-environment-climate change measures in Pillar 2?

The Agricultural Council meeting on 18 June 2012 held a discussion on the proposed rural development regulation in response to a Presidency questionnaire. One of the questions posed by the Presidency was:

Should the Rural Development regulation contain a requirement for a minimum percentage of the EAFRD budget to be spent on environment related actions, and which measures should be taken into account when calculating the spending on environment related actions?

The press release following the meeting highlighted the range of views in the Council on these issues:

Member states broadly support the principle that the CAP should significantly contribute to addressing the challenges concerning environment, biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Read the rest

COMAGRI draft report on rural development

As noted in a previous post, the draft reports by the COMAGRI rapporteurs on the four main CAP regulations were published last week. They include the reports on the future of direct payments and support for rural development by Mr Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, the report on the single common market organisation by Mr Michel Dantin, and the report on the common provisions for financing, management and monitoring of the CAP by Mr Giovanni La Via. This post summarises the main changes proposed in the Capoulas Santos draft report on support for rural development after 2013.
Investments in physical assets.Read the rest