Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

Moissons en France

© European Union , 2014 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Patrick Leclercq

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The post-2020 EU farm policy must be smarter, simpler, fairer and more sustainable, but also well financed and truly common, MEPs say.

MEPs set out on Wednesday, by 468 votes in favour to 123 against, with 89 abstentions, their priorities for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for after 2020.

More flexibility but no re-nationalisation of the CAP

EU member states should be able to adapt the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to their needs, MEPs say. But they reject any “renationalisation” of the CAP, which they say, could distort competition in the single market.

The CAP must be based on a common set of EU objectives, rules, tools and checks, they insist. Member states should then design their national strategies tailored to their needs.

While the future EU farming policy should foster performance rather than compliance, farming activities in all member states should be subject to the same high EU standards and their breach should trigger similar penalties, MEPs say.

Modern policy with proper and fairly distributed funding

On top of enabling EU farms to carry on producing safe and quality food at affordable prices, the future CAP should make them more environmentally sustainable and fully integrated into the circular economy. It should also foster innovation, research and smart farming practices, MEPs say. To this end, they want to maintain the CAP budget at its current level as a minimum.

Parliament also wants:

  • direct payments to continue to be fully financed from the EU budget,
  • to cut red tape for the mandatory greening measures and make them more result-oriented; voluntary measures should be simplified and better targeted,
  • a new EU method to calculate direct payments to phase out historical support criteria and support more those who deliver additional public goods,
  • more efficient ways to ensure that EU support goes to genuine farmers,
  • fairer distribution of EU funds among member states, considering amounts received and differences e.g. in production costs or purchasing power,
  • less money for larger farms with an EU-wide mandatory payment ceiling,
  • more money to help invigorate rural areas, rejecting thus the 25% cut in the 2021-2027 rural development budget as proposed by the Commission on 2 May,
  • stronger support to young and new farmers  and to those hit by income and price volatility,
  • no farm subsidies for the breeding of bulls for bullfighting,
  • to exclude the most sensitive sectors from trade negotiations,
  • allow for support coupled to production, which member states can now grant to crucial ailing sectors, to also be used for strategically important production, e.g. protein crops, or to compensate the effects of free trade deals.

Quote

“We need ambitious targets for the future EU farming policy. We need to guarantee secure supply of high quality food for EU citizens, better support for young, new and family farmers, to increase our farmers’ competitiveness – also by making farming smarter and more innovative, and better equip them to face market fluctuations. But this can be achieved only if the CAP remains truly common and well financed in the future. This is what we will fight for in the next CAP reform”, said rapporteur Herbert Dorfmann (EPP, IT).

Next steps

The non-binding resolution responds to the Commission’s paper on the future EU farm policy and seeks to influence the upcoming legislative proposals on the CAP reform, which are expected on Friday 1 June. The post-2020 CAP reform, which is closely linked to debates on the future EU’s long-term budget, will be co-decided by the Parliament and the Council.

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