Who is happy with EP COMAGRI’s recent vote?

After more than a year of debate, the EP Agriculture and Rural Development Committee began adopting several amendments to the future CAP legislation on 23 and 24 January but approval remains far from certain.
Many criticisms have been made since the vote. The agro-lobby is talking about a melt-down of the urgently needed reforms and greening, reacting on the COMAGRI proposal to allow farmers to ‘opt out’ of mandatory greening requirements and still get at least 70% of the direct payments as well as watering down every single measure with so called ‘equivalents’.
Environmental campaigners also criticised the vote, alleging that the debate was dominated by agricultural interests. The EEB is complaining that the CAP continues to suffer from a fundamental lack of legitimacy as it continues what they call a ‘money for free’ approach, thereby criticising the COMAGRI to pay farmers twice for the same work. Birdlife, for instance, is neither happy with the vote as MEPs have deleted or watered down 10 out of 21 cross-compliance rules, one of the most important ones in the current regime for preserving nature as they say. Moreover, the Friends of the Earth Europe also reacted heavily to the vote in the agriculture committee as one weakening the proposed greening of direct payments and leading to monoculture.
Some member states are neither happy with the vote. DEFRA Secretary has even suggested UK agriculture could be better served if Britain leaves the European Union. Meanwhile, France and Germany remains silent until they have not harmonised their positions, according to their ministers for agriculture.
It seems the only group welcoming the vote is the COPA-COGECA, seeing measures as step in the right direction. In particular, the farm lobby welcomes MEPs vote in favour of regulating the EU wine production potential and the increased flexibility concerning measures to further green the CAP. However, they have serious concerns regarding budget cuts, any transfers from the first pillar to the second and the flexibility of member states to spend money on different measures.
It appears that the majority of stakeholders are not happy with the vote. Some parties want to convince the majority of MEPs outside the Agricultural Committee not to support the further melt-down of the CAP in the Parliament’s plenary vote, scheduled for March 12th in Strasbourg, while other are getting enraged. I would suggest those with a high blood pressure to calm down – the ship carrying a real reform has gone for at least a year.

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