CAP legislative proposals leave MEPs with serious concerns

The legislative proposals for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) were presented to the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development yesterday evening (June 11).

MEPs raised serious concerns relating to the proposals, which were published by the European Commission on June 1, stating that they lack ambition and a proper budgetary backing.

The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, described the proposals as “ambitious, balanced and realistic” – but he also acknowledged that one of the “biggest challenges” is the budget.

Also Read: CAP tables ‘solid’ payment support to ‘set-up’ young farmers

However, MEPs raised serious reservations regarding the legislative proposals.

Speaking at the committee meeting, German MEP Albert Dess said: “My fear is that [with the draft CAP laws as tabled by the EU Commission] we are going to get more bureaucracy.”

He also warned that these proposals could drive young farmers out of business and stressed that “we need to discuss a number of things again and further”.

Meanwhile, French MEP Eric Andrieu criticised substantial cuts to rural development programmes, a lack of crisis management tools and denounced what he sees as “renationalisation of the CAP”.

This is not a balanced; it is not an ambitious; it is not a realistic proposal.

Following on from this, UK MEP James Nicholson highlighted that the next CAP must “give farmers flexibility and tools to meet the challenges that lie ahead of them”.

He also criticised recurrent CAP budget cuts and trade deals that might, he said, drive certain farmers out of business.

Capping payments and the environment

Speaking at the meeting, Irish MEP Matt Carthy said: “The only way that we can adequately address [farmers’ support] inequality is by putting an upper limit cap on payments that can be received.”

He stressed that fairer payments should be prioritised, adding that the commission’s “proposal [on the capping of direct payments] is riddled with loopholes”.

Environment protection issues were also highlighted by MEPs, who criticised the commission not specifying environmental measures at EU level.

As well as this, French MEP Philippe Loiseau claimed that the commission’s proposals will bring “more administration” and will make “farmers disappear one after another”.

He believes that the draft proposals won’t deliver simplification at all and that farmers “are not going to be happy with these proposals”.