CAP: The tools for dual performance are there, it’s up to the Member States to mobilize them!
Farm Europe welcomes the agreement on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy reached today. It preserves the common dimension of this policy and it provides the means to give impetus to a real economic and environmental ambition, clearly improving the European Commission’s initial proposal.
The tireless work of the Portuguese Presidency, of long-established MEPs such as Peter Jahr, Anne Sander, Paolo de Castro, Nobert Lins and Herbert Dorfmann, and of newcomers in the European Parliament CAP negotiations such as Martin Hlavácek,Pascal Canfin, Pina Picierno, Jeremie Decerle and Irène Tolleret, each of whom played a key role in structuring constructive and ambitious positions within the European Parliament and then in the inter-institutional negotiations must be commended.
The final compromise provides a clear framework for Member States to implement a strategy for the economic and environmental transition of the agricultural sector in order to provide quality food for all Europeans and to allow farmers to invest and innovate, using the following tools:
- With the “eco-schemes“, the European Union now has an its disposal an incentive tool to help European farms to adapt to climate change, store carbon, enrich biodiversity, be less dependent on inputs and enhance animal welfare. This tool will prove its effectiveness when used to achieve the twin goals of more economically and environmentally efficient farming. The point-system should ensure a level playing field across Europe and within Member States in the ambition and implementation of the different eco-schemes.
- With “green investments” earmarked as a priority in the second pillar of the CAP, and the ability of all sectors to implement operational programs funded by the first pillar of the CAP, this reform sends the signal that it is through innovation and investment that the European Union will succeed in achieving the ambition set in the Farm to fork Strategy and the Green Deal. These investments must make it possible to achieve the environmental objectives while gaining in economic competitiveness and preventing competition from third countries to develop.
- With the crisis reserve of at least €450 million and the possible earmarking of 3% of the first pillar of the CAP for risk and crisis management tools, the economic nature and reactivity of the CAP in response to unforeseen events are potentially reinforced. It will be important for the Member States to seize these levers and for the Commission to activate the tools at its disposal in the event of a crisis without delay and without procrastination.
On this basis, the European agricultural sector has a certain visibility, which is imperative for the years to come, with a strong responsibility now resting on:
- the shoulders of the Commission to validate the national strategic programs by ensuring their consistency with the guidelines defined at European level and by limiting the distortions that could arise from divergent approaches between Member States.
- the shoulders of the Member States to fully activate the tools designed by the European Parliament and the Council in order to strengthen the European agricultural sectors and prepare their future by putting a clear priority on innovation investments and risk management.
- the shoulders of the co-legislators to make sure that the regulations of the F2F reinforce the orientations decided by the co-legislators in the CAP and do not contradict them.
It is regrettable, however, that food chain issues, notably those related not only to digitalization and blockchain, but also to the food and nutritional dimension in particular, have not found their place in this reform. It is to be hoped that these topics will be addressed in an effective and coherent way with the CAP in the framework of future proposals from Farm to Fork, in order to meet the expectations of all consumers, by rejecting the model of a multi-speed food supply according to purchasing power.