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Commissioner Grybauskaité: no future for direct payments

A major conference entitled “Reforming the Budget, Changing Europe” was held yesterday in Brussels, marking the end of the consultation phase of the ‘no taboos’ review of the future of the EU budget led by Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaité. The former Lithuanian finance minister presented the results of the consultation process that received more than 300 responses including position papers from each of the twenty-seven member states along with NGOs, universities, regional and local governments, think tanks, lobby groups and businesses. It is clear that Grybauskaité is no friend of the Common Agricultural Policy, especially its €30 billion in direct payments.… Read the rest

Podcast: Roger Waite on the health check end-game

As we head into the end-game of the health check, Roger Waite, editor of Agra Facts, analyses the big five outstanding issues:

1. Dairy quotas – how to ensure a smooth transition to a free market in milk within the EU.
2. Article 68 – targeted policies or recoupling via the backdoor?
3. Modulation – how to move money from old-style farm subsidies, especially to Europe’s largest farms, to fund rural development and farmland conservation.
4. Co-financing – will the health check require hard-pressed member state treasuries to find more nationally-funded spending for the CAP?
5. The future of common market organisations – an end to intervention?Read the rest

Commission perspectives on agriculture and rural development

For most of its life, DG Agriculture has been concerned with managing agricultural markets, increasing farm productivity and guaranteeing European farmers a good income. In the 1990s, under the leadership of Commissioner Franz Fischler, it began paying more attention to broader economic development and environmental concerns in rural areas. This new interest led to the establishment of the Rural Development Reguation, a suite of new policy instruments (a ‘second pillar’ of the CAP) that comprised a set of mostly farm-based subsidy schemes designed to run alongside the traditional farming policies of the EU’s common market organisations (the ‘first pillar’ of the CAP).… Read the rest