Artificial intelligence (AI) has been described as the fourth industrial revolution, following the invention of the steam engine, electric power, and the internet. AI tools can rapidly synthesize large amounts of data and detect patterns. AI tools are increasingly used in business but also in the provision of public services in activities such as risk profiling, the delivery of medical care, and traffic management.
There is growing interest in the interface between AI and public policy. This is a relationship that works both ways. On the one hand, there are concerns about how best to regulate the use of AI in society.… Read the rest
On 6 July 2022 the EU circulated to WTO Members its proposed revisions to Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for two neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam (the documents include the formal notification to the TBT Committee, the proposed draft Commission Regulation, and a comparison of existing and proposed MRLs by agricultural product).
Under WTO rules, this is a necessary step when changes in MRLs are proposed. Other Members now have 60 days in which to provide comments on the proposed changes. These comments are then considered by the Standing Committee on Plant, Animal, Food and Feed, the EU body consisting of Member State representatives that decides on pesticide issues, before final approval is given to the proposed Regulation.… Read the rest
Ursula von der Leyen, then the German Minister for Defence, emerged as the surprise choice of the European Council leaders at their meeting on 21 June 2019 following their inability to agree on any of the Spitzenkandidaten. After an amazingly short period to read herself into the brief, she presented her Political Guidelines for the new Commission and summarised these in her oral presentation as part of her confirmation hearings in front of the European Parliament on July 16 2019.
Leaders of four of the
Parliament’s political groups (the EPP, S&D, Renew Europe and the Greens, sometimes
called the pro-EU parties to distinguish them from the more Eurosceptic parties
both on the left and on the right – it is a handy tag though I am not comfortable
using that description which is inherently exclusionary) had attempted to come
together and, for the first time, to forge a common political platform and a
common candidate for the Commission Presidency.… Read the rest
Those seeking to influence the design of the CAP post 2020 should understand the process of designing Strategic Plans, and the opportunities and constraints inherent in this process. In a recent working paper, I try to explain how Strategic Plans will be constructed and the key entry points for those seeking to improve the environmental and climate ambition of these Plans. The paper is written from a development perspective but the messages have a more general relevance.
The paper does not discuss how the CAP legislation itself might be improved from an environmental or development perspective. The Parliament’s Committee on Development and Environment Committee have submitted their Opinions to the agriculture committee with a range of suggestions in this regard (the latter still only available in Italian), although few were taken on board in the AGRI Committee voting .… Read the rest
Commissioner Phil Hogan gave a presentation last week (Jan 24th) on the proposed environmental and climate architecture in the Commission’s legal proposal for the CAP post 2020 to the AGRI Committee of the European Parliament (the video session can be reviewed here). Today Monday (Jan 28th) the Commissioner gives a similar presentation to the AGRIFISH Council.
There are of course technical issues to be clarified around
the Commission’s proposals. How will the proposed eco-schemes in Pillar 1 relate
to agri-environment-climate measures (AECMs) in Pillar 2? How will Member States’
level of environmental and climate ambition in their CAP Strategic Plans be
evaluated, and how will the level of effort across Member States be compared by
the Commission when it approves these Plans?… Read the rest
We are pleased to welcome this guest post by Faustine Bas-Defossez, IEEP Head of agriculture and land management program, and Kaley Hart, IEEP Senior fellow, who summarise the findings of a recent IEEP report CAP 2021-27: Proposals for increasing its environmental and climate ambition.
Although the CAP is the key EU funding mechanism to support environmental and climate action in the EU agricultural and forest sectors, efforts so far to green this strategic policy have not been sufficient to outweigh the pressures facing the farmed environment. As the EU just published its long term strategy for a climate neutral economy, emissions of greenhouse gasses from agriculture, including the livestock sector, are stubbornly high.… Read the rest
Article 92 of the draft CAP Strategic Plan regulation is headed “Increased ambition with regard to environmental- and climate-related objectives”. In my previous discussion of the proposed green architecture in the CAP post 2020, I interpreted this Article as a commitment to no back-sliding on expenditure on agri-environment and climate objectives in the new CAP. For this reason, I took a more positive view of the potential of the new legislation to live up to the Commission’s declared ambition in this area than reflected in initial statements from environmental NGOs.
In the wake of further conversations with Birdlife Europe who have had the benefit of discussions with DG AGRI officials, I conclude that my initial interpretation of Article 92 as guaranteeing no back-sliding in expenditure was incorrect.… Read the rest
Environmental NGOs were harsh in their immediate criticism of the legislative proposals on the new CAP. Greepeace said that the EU farming plan “could spell disaster for the environment”. BirdLife Europe said that “The European Commission’s claim that the new proposal will deliver a higher environmental and climate ambition has fallen flat”, arguing that the new plan “does not guarantee any spending on biodiversity and grotesquely slashes funds ring-fenced for the environment across the board”.
Birdlife Europe has produced a detailed assessment of the Commission’s proposals in a handy tabular form, pointing out both weaknesses in the proposals themselves as well as omissions where the proposals could be strengtened (a summary of this assessment has appeared on this blog).… Read the rest
We are pleased to bring you this guest post by Dr Alessandra Kirsch who recently completed her PhD thesis Politique agricole commune, aides directes à l’agriculture et environnement : Analyse en France, en Allemagne et au Royaume-Uni at the Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté. Dr Kirsch did her research at the CESAER, INRA DIJON, France, under the guidance of Professor Jean-Christophe Kroll and Dr Aurélie Trouvé. Her work was financed by the French Ministry of Agriculture.
The evolution of the Common Agricultural Policy shows an increasing emphasis on environmental objectives since their first appearance in the Maastricht treaty in 1992. The research presented here was stimulated by an important contradiction in public discourse.… Read the rest
Karl who, you might well ask? Well, Mr Falkenberg has just published a reflections paper setting out a European vision for sustainability which goes into some detail about his views on the future of EU agricultural policy. Indeed, one-fifth of his relatively short document is devoted to this topic. You might well shrug that yet another viewpoint added to the hundreds of others (including those aired on this blog) discussing how Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy should be reformed after 2020 is hardly worth getting exercised about. But Mr Falkenberg’s views may deserve more attention than most.
After all, Mr Falkenberg spent more than six years as Director-General in DG ENVI after a distinguished career in the Commission civil service including a stint as Deputy Director-General in DG TRADE.… Read the rest