CAP that – a busy summer

The proposed reforms of the CAP stagger on during high Summer when politicians and administrators used to vacate their desks for holiday destinations.

The European Parliament (EP), having made up to 3,000 amendments to the Commission’s proposed reforms has now got to achieve a common position that it can validly argue – many of its objections conflict with each other.

That most important element of the reforms, the budget, has yet to be agreed with the very real prospect that with the Council on a collision course with the Commission, agreement may not be possible by the end of this year.  Without that agreement the reforms will stall.  Very recently a statement by Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK urged that “budgetary restraint at EU level remains important given member states’ on-going efforts to put their public finances on a sound footing to pursue growth….. an increase of 2.79% is higher than we would have liked.  Therefore, further increases to EU spending should not be agreed later this year.”  Remember that the Commission’s proposal is to increase the budget by 6.8%.

President Barroso has reacted strongly to the Council’s position, arguing that most of the proposed increase of 6.8% stems from existing obligations and that the real increase proposed for the next financial period beginning in 2013 would have been much smaller had payment allocations in the 2012 budget been set at realistic levels in the first place.

Meanwhile the chair of the EP Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development is demanding greater flexibility at national level to more funds (once agreed) between Pillars 1 and 2 to allow member states to address changes needed in their rural areas “in the most appropriate way”.

Meanwhile conveyance remains a battleground, with some member states continuing to argue that they will be required to contribute disproportionately more value than is necessary to close the gap between the value of direct payments in each member state by 2020.  The Baltic States in particular argue for faster convergence in values, but even that argument does not appear to satisfy the call from Poland, Portugal, Romania and Bulgaria for a far more ambitious transfer of value.

Added to these current debates are the urgings from the Farm Commissioner to continue with greening the CAP and arguing that the reform without a greening chapter is unimaginable, whilst accepting that his greening policies now are in the hands of the European Parliament and the Council.  Could greening be the first casualty of a reduced budget for the CAP?

When pressed, the official line is we are all doing our level best to ensure the reforms will be in place by 1st January 2014.

High summer or not these debates and arguments will continue relentlessly over the summer months.  So much for the silly season!


Solicitors Ipswich Suffolk – for more information on our range of legal services, please contact us