CAP reform ‘is falling short’ of EU auditors’ ambitions

The proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020 “falls short” of the EU’s ambitions for a greener and more robust performance-based approach, according to a statement published today (Wednesday, November 7), by the European Court of Auditors.

The auditors have identified a number of other issues with the proposal, notably in terms of accountability.

When the European Commission published its proposal for the new CAP after 2020, it stressed that environment and climate objectives would be a high priority.

The auditors acknowledged that the proposed reform includes tools to address these objectives but say that these are neither clearly defined nor translated into quantified targets.

In addition, the Commission’s estimate of the CAP’s contribution to EU climate change objectives appears unrealistic, say the auditors.

The auditors noted that many of the proposed policy options are very similar to the current CAP.

The statement said that the largest part of the budget would continue to be direct payments to farmers, based on a given amount of hectares of land owned or used.

However, the auditors believe that this instrument is not appropriate for addressing environmental concerns, nor is it the most efficient way of supporting viable income.

The proposal introduces key changes in the way that policy would be put into practice.

There is a shift from an emphasis on compliance towards a focus on performance, which the auditors have welcomed.

The new CAP needs more incentives for performance and objectives that are clearly linked to outputs, results and impacts, concluded the auditors.