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European Parliament weighs in on health check

On Monday 14 July the European Parliament agriculture committee will discuss its response to the Commission’s legislative proposals for the CAP health check. The committee’s rapporteur is Luis Capoulos Santos, a Portuguese socialist MEP and former Portuguese Minister for Agriculture. His working document, suggests a number of changes to the Commission proposals, notably a hard ceiling of 500,000 euros on CAP payments to individuals, in addition to a ‘progressive modulation’ that would see payments above 100,000 euros top-sliced to provide additional funding for the EU’s farmland conservation and rural policies.… Read the rest

Pressure grows to drop EU biofuels targets

Three new reports published this week have called on the EU to drop or severley scale back its biofuels targets. These latest interventiosn by the European Parliament Environment Committee, a study group commissioned by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and a leading Brussels-based think tank show that the tide has now firmly turned against the EU’s current subsidy-fueled march towards using ever more of Europe’s land to grow fuel for cars instead of food for people.… Read the rest

US House of Representatives passes ‘veto-proof’ Farm Bill

Dan Morgan of the Washington Post reports on the legislative passage of a 5-year US Farm Bill, with a sufficient majority in the House of Representatives (318:106) to override any Presidential veto. President Bush had previously threatened a veto unless the Farm Bill would set a new upper limit on the size of subsidy payments and avoid raising any new taxes. He looks to have been outmaneuvered. … Read the rest

European Parliament takes aim at CAP direct payments

A new report commissioned by the Budget Committee of the European Parliament makes interesting reading. The report, written by Jorge Núñez Ferrer (a former Commission fonctionnaire) and Eleni A. Kaditi, both of the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, aims to asses whether the CAP provides ‘added value’. Núñez Ferrer and Kaditi define this as whether “the benefits outweigh the costs, not only of implementing the policy, but also the costs created in other areas.” The authors don’t pull their punches, particularly when it comes to direct payments which, costing some €30 billion a year, are by far the biggest ticket item in the CAP.… Read the rest

Getting decisions on the Health Check

With 27 member states the whole negotiating process in the Farm Council has become a lot more difficult, not that it was ever easy. Another complication is that fisheries matters are also dealt with in the Farm Council and this means that the December meeting is the scene for an inevitable battle between fisheries ministers over quotas.… Read the rest

Goepel plan: weak, weak, weak

The European Parliament’s agriculture committee published a working paper on the CAP health check at the end of last year. Tamsin Cooper and Martin Farmer at IEEP have already argued that from an environmental perspective it lacks ambition and is internally inconsistent. I have looked in detail at the working paper’s proposals for ‘progressive modulation’ which is put forward as an alternative to both the Commission’s proposals on payment limits and increased compulsory modulation.… Read the rest

European Parliament’s View of the Health Check Holds Little Promise for the Environment

The European Parliament is seeking an outcome to the CAP Health Check that does not compromise the competitiveness of EU farming or diminish the value of farm subsidy receipts. This is the vision presented in a working document drafted by German MEP Lutz Goepel of the Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. The paper acknowledges the need for some evolution of the CAP, but presents a sometimes inconsistent set of suggestions, a number of which are likely to run counter to arguments in favour of promoting a more environmentally sustainable CAP. The paper is examined in further detail below. … Read the rest

Commission proposals: so what happens next?

As DG Agriculture’s spokesman Michael Mann has been keen to stress over the past few days since the publication of the Commission’s communication on the CAP health check, this is just the start of the process of deliberation and debate. Dr Tamsin Cooper of the Institute for European Environmental Policy has written a useful briefing on the next steps in the process.… Read the rest

Puzzle over co-decision

It is far from clear how agricultural issues will be dealt with under co-decision once the reform treaty is enacted. Under current rules, most CAP dossiers are decided under the ‘consultation’ procedure, where the Council must wait for an EP opinion, but has no obligation to incorporate EP amendments into the final text.… Read the rest