Agriculture Council Sees Simplification Proposals and an Informal Meeting of the EU-12

Talks at the October Agriculture Council mostly centred on the simplification measures proposed by the Commission to bring the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in line with the Lisbon Treaty. In the margins it emerged that a meeting was planned between the EU-12 Agriculture Ministers, convened by Polish Minister Marek Sawicki in response to the Franco-German position paper. It is thought the meeting was held straight after the Council meeting in response to the Franco-German position paper released at September’s Informal Agriculture Council in la Hulpe.

Discussions on CAP simplification take place

Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos started the proceedings with a speech introducing a series of ideas aimed at reducing red tape in the farming sector to bring the CAP in line with the principles of the new Lisbon Treaty. The simplification plans come in the form of two legislative proposals, one for Pillar One and one for Pillar Two, which include measures designed to reduce the reporting and control burdens on farmers, and which aim to clarify the Commission’s decision making powers in agricultural matters. The proposals were welcomed by many Member States, although some did express disappointment at the level of ambition of the plans.

Main points worth of note include, for Pillar One, the simplification of controls under cross-compliance to exempt farms less than one hectare in size from infringement procedures and to reduce the control requirements on Member States for breaches deemed to be ‘minor’ or under €100. For Pillar Two the Commission proposes:

  • A reduction in the number of reports that need to be submitted by Member States during the 2007-13 programming period to align them with the mid term and ex post evaluation requirements;
  • Simplifying the requirements for setting up advisory services so that they no longer have to cover all cross-compliance requirements;
  • Extending support for the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups to the EU-15 Member States; and
  • Allow relevant provisions to be made for landscape features of major importance for wild fauna and flora to enable them to receive Pillar Two funding under the Natura 2000 measure.

Polish Minister calls meeting in wings of Council

It is rumoured that Polish Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki staged a meeting after the Council with his counterparts from the EU-12 to discuss the CAP post-2013. Mr Sawicki made his feelings clear on the joint Franco-German position paper, launched at September’s Informal Council, by stating his strong opposition to the ‘pressure’ that he felt the paper put on other Member States to agree with the views put forward. Commentators had been expecting the Polish Minister to retaliate in response to the position paper, and rumours that a ten page document was circulated and subsequently discussed after the Council meeting seem to confirm this.

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PUBLICATION DATE

05 Nov 2010

AUTHOR

IEEP

FURTHER INFORMATION

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.