The EU has signed up
to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030. Among these are
Goal 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and Goal
15 to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of
terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and
halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
The incoming Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen set out in her Political Guidelines for the new Commission her ambition that the EU should raise its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) in 2030 from 40% to 50% immediately and to 55% in the first half of the next decade compared to 1990.… Read the rest
Eurostat has now published preliminary estimates of 2019 agricultural output and income. The value of agricultural output in current prices shows a small further increase in 2019 as compared to 2018. Compared to the previous peak in 2013, agricultural output value has grown by just under 4% in the past six years. This is mainly due to an increase in the value of crop output, with the increase in the value of livestock output lagging behind. However, because of greater spending on intermediate consumption, gross value added in agriculture remains just below the record 2017 level.
Operating surplus (the return to land, capital and family labour) also increased compared to 2018 but is still well below the record 2017 level.… Read the rest
The UK election has
resulted in a resounding victory for the Conservative Party under Boris Johnson
with its manifesto call to ‘get Brexit done’. The
Conservatives won 365 seats, Labour 203, Scottish National Party 48, Liberal
Democrats 11, the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party 8, and other
parties 15 seats giving the Conservative Party a thumping 80-seat majority.
One interpretation of the result is that a majority in the UK has now voted for Brexit. However, counting the votes cast instead of seats won shows a slight majority (52-48) voted in favour of parties that were opposed to Brexit or wanted a second referendum.… Read the rest
We are pleased to welcome this post which has been written by Jabier Ruiz, who is Senior Policy Officer, Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems at the European Policy Office of WWF in Brussels.
Internal convergence: a multi-faceted obligation
In recent reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy, and of the Multiannual Financial Framework, the (external) convergence of decoupled direct payments across EU member states is always a very sensitive political topic. This issue has been covered extensively in this blog (for example, here and here). There is much less awareness and discussion on the topic of internal convergence, another obligation existing in the current (and future) CAP and which aims to progressively equalise the value of decoupled direct payment entitlements (€ per hectare) within each Member State or region.… Read the rest
As I discussed in this post, the Finnish Presidency has been tasked with presenting a first draft of the MFF ‘negotiating box’ with numbers prior to the next European Council meeting 12-13 December 2019. This will be no mean feat given the wide differences of opinion between the ‘frugal five’ Member States – Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden – that want overall a smaller budget than what the Commission has proposed, and other Member States that want to reverse some of the Commission’s cuts in cohesion and agricultural spending (Politico’s Lily Bayer goes through the different alliances in this article published today).… Read the rest
DG AGRI and the
Commission have now officially recognised that, in view of the present state of
play in both the Parliament and the Council, the basic acts governing the CAP
post 2020 and the ensuing delegated and implementing acts will not be formally
adopted by January 2020 and that, therefore, it will be necessary to plan for a
transitional period. The new legal framework will now begin from 1 January 2022.
Although the current CAP Regulations continue in force until they are repealed, they need amendment to ensure that there is a legal basis for making payments to farmers in 2021.… Read the rest
The European Council leaders at their meeting on 17-18 October 2019 failed to make progress in advancing discussions on the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) due to start on 1 January 2021. The Council’s conclusions noted that: “Further to a presentation by the Presidency, the European Council exchanged views on key issues of the next Multiannual Financial Framework such as the overall level, the volumes of the main policy areas, the financing, including revenues and corrections, as well as the conditionalities and incentives. In the light of this discussion, it calls on the Presidency to submit a Negotiating Box with figures ahead of the European Council in December 2019”.… Read the rest
Commissioner-designate Wojciechowski highlighted what he called the “shocking information” on the decline in the number of European farms in his opening statement during his hearing in front of the AGRI Committee in the European Parliament earlier this week.
I presented the shocking information – shocking at least for some audiences – that during one decade, from 2005 to 2015, we lost four million farms in the European Union. The number of farms was almost 15 million, and after a decade there were fewer than 11 million farms. If we lose four million per decade, it is 400 000 per year.
… Read the rest
One piece of advice given to everyone who goes for a job interview is that you need to prepare. Commissioner-designate for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski seemed to have done limited preparation for his hearing in front of COMAGRI (with COMENVI as an associated committee) in the European Parliament earlier this week and failed to impress. As a result, he has been asked to respond to a fresh set of questions submitted by the Committee before it decides if it is willing to support his candidacy.
… Read the rest
The impact of the CAP on developing countries continues to be a topic of great interest to many people, particularly in the context of the EU’s commitment to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Together with Rossella Soldi, I recently completed a report evaluating the impact of the EU’s current agricultural policy on the agriculture of developing countries which was commissioned by the European Committee of the Regions and which is now available on its website.
The terms of reference for the study asked
for an evaluation of the impact of current CAP subsidies on the price of EU
food produced and exported to developing countries.… Read the rest