Finland Publishes Vision for Post-2013 CAP
The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has recently published a document outlining its vision for the Common Agricultural Policy after 2007. The document outlines the need for a CAP which: ensures ‘smooth functioning of the internal [EU] market’; improves competitiveness; ensures ‘the production of various public goods’; guarantees ‘reasonable consumer prices and access to food’; balance agricultural markets; ensures a level playing field for EU and non-EU producers taking into account cross compliance standards; stabilises farmers’ incomes; and promotes ‘cohesion both within and between the regions’.
The document identifies three key objectives for a future CAP:
- ‘Preserving sustainable food production based on family farming also in the less favoured regions of the Community in accordance with the European model of agriculture’ (with reference to food security, improving competitiveness, income support, & sustainable use of natural resources);
- ‘Preserving the viability of the rural areas and promoting balanced regional development’ (with reference to maintaining and managing the rural environment, and addressing the Health Check ‘new challenges’ of water protection, climate change mitigation & adaptation, and bioenergy production);
- ‘European contribution to the global food supply’ (with reference to EU market stabilisation, the promotion of food supplies in developing countries and agricultural research and development).
Finally, the document then goes on to outline the Finnish government’s views on the future structure of the CAP which include:
- Maintenance of the current structure of the CAP (i.e. a Pillar 1 consisting of an EU funded single payment scheme and market support, as well as nationally co-funded rural development measures through Pillar 2);
- Total funding for the CAP to remain at current levels. In recognition of the importance of rural development funding, funds currently redistributed from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 via modulation would be paid on a permanent basis (i.e. modulation would no longer be necessary);
- The basis for calculating direct payments through the Single Payment Scheme should gradually move towards a regional flat rate per hectare model in all Member States, rather than based on 2000-2002 historic production levels as currently applies in some Member States;
- The Single Payment Scheme should be viewed as ‘compensation for the provision of public services’ although there is no suggestion of targeting the payments more precisely than at present;
- Most direct payments should be decoupled from production, although there may be a need to retain some coupled elements in ‘sensitive areas’ i.e. those threatened by land abandonment or where significant diversity of farming activities may be lost in the absence of coupled payments;
- The possibility for CAP support to be further differentiated between different types of farms or regions (livestock farms/crop farms);
- The development of risk management tools at EU level to support agricultural markets in the faced of increasing market volatility and climate change induced extreme weather events;
- The reformed policy for less favoured areas should be based on objective criteria linked to natural handicap with no artificial payment ceiling specified at EU level (presumably to allow higher payments than otherwise would the case, where such compensation is deemed to be necessary);
- The agri-environment measure should be further developed in order to more effectively address the Health Check new challenges related to water protection, climate change, biodiversity conservation, and bio-energy; and
- Food quality policy needs to be improved so that consumers are better able to make more informed purchasing decisions which take into account the origin and production methods, for example.
Further information on the views of the Finnish Government on agriculture and rural development can be found here.
The document entitled 'The CAP after 2013 - Views of the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry' can be downloaded here.
09 Jun 2009
The Institute for European Environmental Policy coordinates CAP2020. It is an independent not for profit institute which undertakes research in a number of policy areas including agriculture and rural development.