The Future of the CAP

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With the CAP Health Check now behind us, fundamental questions are being asked about the rationale for and future shape of European agricultural policy, precipitated in part by the review of the European Budget. A number of stakeholders have published Vision Papers and academics have continued to unpack the issues underpinning future policy development. The French Presidency also weighed in with a discussion paper on the future direction of agricultural policy post 2013, which EU agriculture ministers grappled over when they met for talks at the Informal Agriculture Council in Annecy in September 2008.

We have now reached a critical juncture for the future of a policy that absorbs more of the EU’s budget than any other policy area, but one that also influences the management of almost 80 per cent of Europe’s total land area. There is broad consensus that the policy needs to evolve, but how?

We would like you to unpack those issues that are central to the debate on the future direction of the policy. You may wish to consider the following:

  • The need for change. What is wrong with the current CAP, despite recent reforms and the changes that are proposed as part of the Health Check?
  • The rationale for an EU agricultural policy. What should underpin a European policy in the future? Could food security, the provision of public goods and the maintenance of the natural resource base required to produce food justify EU action?
  • The broad objectives of a future CAP. What sort of supplementary objectives could be added so as to orientate the CAP to future challenges?
  • The need for a European policy. What are the advantages of organising and financing an agricultural policy at the EU level? Do transboundary issues give credence to an EU approach?
  • Responding to critical environmental challenges. How should the future CAP protect and maintain farmland biodiversity? And, what role should the policy play in climate change mitigation and adaptation?
  • The EU’s responsibility to developing countries. How should a European policy be adapted to favour pro-poor development? What environmental hazards might this raise?
  • Adding value at the landscape scale. How can forestry land use and concerns about landscape maintenance be integrated into a coherent policy framework?
  • The model and instruments needed for a future CAP. What should be the roles of advice, regulation, conditional payments (cross compliance), and incentive payments? And what should the future balance be between Pillar 1 and Pillar 2?
  • Meeting socio-economic objectives. Should these be devolved to EU regional policy?
  • Time frame. Given the potential ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, at which point the European Parliament will assume greater powers on agricultural policy, the current 7 year funding framework, forthcoming changes to the European Commission, and the need to solicit the agreement of at least 27 Member States, what is a realistic timetable for reform?
  • Winners and losers. Given particular reform scenarios, who would benefit the most? Would this be politically palatable to all Member States?

Please do not feel bound by these questions. If there are other key questions that you feel need addressing, then please feel free to do so.

To make your contribution, click here.

To read other contributions, click here.


07 Nov 2008