CAP reform faces stalemate in EU budget negotiations.
Due to a stalemate in Brussels over the future EU spending on CAP, the plenary vote in the European Parliament has been postponed until June 2013, according to Euro commissioner Dacian Ciolos (agriculture). This means it will be impossible to implement necessary reforms to the direct payment system for farmers (pillar one) in 2014 as planned. Implementation will be delayed at least until 2015. However, reforms in pillar two, including benefits for young farmers, could go ahead as planned IF an agreement can be reached in the Euro Parliament.
The news of the delay is received badly by many agrarian stakeholders as it creates uncertainty on their current situation and future perspectives. The delay raises question marks on the EU’s capabilities to stick to its own timetable, design innovative policy solutions and give the taxpayer value for money.
One of the main topics causing a stalemate among EU member states where the "Greening Reforms” in the current direct payment system. The proposed compulsory greening measures where viewed too rigid by many Members States, who called for more flexibility and regional-specific considerations. On 28 – 29 November, The Agriculture and Fisheries Council voted on a more flexible approach, incorporating national certification schemes and agri-environment climate measures (currently falling under pillar two) into pillar one as equivalent measures. This approach raised concerns on implementation and about possible double payments to farmers. Member states call for new measures to be simple, straight forward and efficient, but can’t seem to agree on their content, and thus the stalemate continues still.
Currently a new compromise text is being developed in Strasbourg which is to be presented this week. As the debate on specifics continues in a context of overall budget cuts, initial plans to "green the CAP” could be one of the biggest victims of the reform process as council president, and Cypriot Agricultural Minister, suggested.
Although the CAP decision-making process and thus its implementation seems to experience delay after delay, causing uncertainty among agrarian stakeholders and innovative "greening measures” seem to run the risk of getting compromised over budget cuts, this delay shouldn’t be viewed in dire-straight. Most importantly, it means that the debate on the level of greening measures in the CAP isn’t over yet, and is still open for input and influence.
The YFM NL and the broader SFYN network plan to use these three extra months to ensure that innovative food policies don’t suffer under budget cuts and governmental paralysis. More information follows soon!