Today’s European Parliament vote constitutes an important step forward in the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform process. This is the first time that we have had full co-decision on reforms to the CAP, and the Parliament has backed a negotiating position, respecting the tight timetable. Once the Council has also defined its negotiating position, we will be in a position to start the last phase of the reform negotiations. These aim in particular at making the CAP fairer, more sustainable, more reactive in market management terms, and more open to the diversity of our rural areas, as sought by the wider EU public within the framework of the public debate on the future CAP launched by the European Commission 3 years ago.
The European Parliament has supported the main principles of the Commission proposals, notably on the capping of payments, the Greening of 30% of Direct Payments and a Rural Development policy more adapted to the diversity of local specificities. And I welcome the fact that on certain subjects, such as transparency and double funding, the Plenary vote has defined a Parliament position closer to the Commission’s proposals.
Once the Council has also defined its negotiating position, we can start the trilogue meetings with the Commission-Parliament-Council, with a view to reach a political agreement before the summer which I hope will be balanced and ambitious. This should be the case in particular for the issue of equity in the distribution of CAP support, for real convergence between Member States, regions and farmers. The problem of attracting young farmers to enter the sector must be addressed by a response at European level. Moreover I welcome the fact that the Parliament has supported the Commission’s proposals in this direction. We must also work on the definition of agricultural practices linked to greening, notably the concept of equivalence so that this tool can be not only consistent, but also simple, efficient and transparent. For this, we need to introduce a credible sanction mechanism.
Finally, we also need tools for efficient market management, adapted to the diversity of the different sectors and regions, with not only a greater contribution coming from producers and producer organisations, but also a greater responsibility. One of the main issues here is to strengthen the position of farmers in the food supply chain and their capacity to respond to market crises.
Source: Europa, press release, 2013-03-13.