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CAP Reform Proposals Discussed at Ag Council

by 5m Editor
21 October 2011, at 9:05am

EU - At the 3120th meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg earlier this week under the presidency of Marek Sawicki, Minister for Rural Development of Poland, there were discussions on the CAP reform proposals, implementation of the laying hens directive, the fisheries partnership agreement with Guinea Bissau and amendments of fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks.

Main results of the Council

As regards agriculture, ministers had an exchange of views on the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package, thus initiating in the Council the debate on the future of CAP for the months. to come.

In addition, the Council held a policy debate on the distribution of food products to the most deprived persons in the Union. Ministers could not secure a majority in favour of the Commission proposal.

A qualified majority in favour of a decision on the position of the EU in the framework of the International Organisation for Vine and Wine (OIV) could not be reached.

Finally, the Council was briefed on the implementation of the directive concerning the welfare of laying hens.

The CAP reform package

The Council was briefed and held an exchange of views on the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package.

As regards direct payments, several member states raised concerned. If some delegations agree with the introduction of "greening" measures in the first pillar, several member states questioned the compulsory respect of certain agricultural practices or the percentage of the national envelope devoted to this "greening". In addition some delegations reiterated their opposition to the capping of the basic payment scheme. The notion of "active farmer" raised also many questions. Actions proposed in favour of the small farms and young farmers were generally well received.

Concerning direct payments and rural development, a vast majority of delegations raised concerns that the measures proposed seemed to go against the simplification of the CAP which considered as a major objective of this reform.

On the market management mechanisms, most of the member states acknowledged the measures proposed by the Commission. They noted in particular the interest of having a safeguard clause introduced for all sectors allowing to take emergency measures. Some member states regretted the end of the sugar quota system for 2015 while other praised the liberalisation of the sector which will follow the end of this system. Several delegations are in favour of rules related to the recognition of producers organisation and interbranch organisations. Some other member states considered the risk to have a bias in competition.

The Presidency will organise two more policy debates on direct payments and rural development, respectively, in November and December 2011.

The CAP reform package presented by the Commission consists of:

  • Four main proposals for regulations co-decided by ordinary legislative procedure (OLP) between the Council and the European Parliament:
    • regulation establishing rules for direct payment to farmers (15396/11)
    • regulation establishing a common organisation of the market in agricultural products (15397/11)
    • regulation on rural development (15425/11)
    • regulation on the financing, management and monitoring of the CAP (15426/11)
  • One proposal for a Council regulation:
    • regulation determining measures on fixing certain aids and refunds (15400/11)
  • Two proposals to be co-decided by OLP for adjusting certain current provisions:
    • regulation amending regulation 73/2009 as regards the application of transitional measures in respect of the year 2013 (15398/11)
    • regulation modifying regulation 1234/2007 (Single CMO regulation) as regards the regime of the single payment scheme and support to vine-growers (15399/11).

Following the institutional debate initiated by the Commission communication The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future (16348/10) and on the basis of impact assessments for the different policies, the Commission prepared the CAP reform package. The new rules should enter into force on 1 January 2014.

In March 2011, the Council took note of the Presidency conclusions on the Commission communication (7921/11) supported by a very large number of member states.

The Presidency conclusions on the communication followed an initial exchange of views in November 2010 and three policy debates which took place at the Agriculture Councils in December 2010, January and February 2011 and ant the Environment Council in March 2011. The policy debates were centred on the three main objectives of the future CAP identified in the Commission communication, namely:

  • viable food production
  • sustainable management of natural resources and climate action, and
  • balanced territorial development

Further Reading

- You can view the full (provisional) report of the Council meeting by clicking here.