Report to COMAGRI Meeting Emphasises the Need for Sustainable Production and a Fair Income for Farmers

At an expert hearing held by the Agricultural Committee of the European Parliament on 17 March, Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon emphasised that a future CAP should ensure sustainable production, environmental protection and a fair income for farmers. Presenting a ‘Working Document on the Future of the CAP after 2013’, Mr Lyon proposed a pyramid approach to agricultural policy embracing both Pillars One and Two of the CAP. The document proposes a Pillar One to be founded on an area based Single Farm Payment and basic cross compliance, strengthened by market measures to address price volatility and contractual top-ups to provide flexibility for further greening of the CAP, and topped with an additional payment for areas with natural handicaps. Pillar Two would remain the principal foundation for Rural Development focused on ‘green growth’ (as specified in the Europe 2020 Strategy) and strengthened by targeted approaches on the environment and climate change.

An alternative view presented by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, suggested that the CAP should comprise three schemes:

  1. A ‘three-level’ integrated contractual payment scheme consisting of i) a decoupled and conditional basic per hectare payment for cultivated land, ii) a top up for LFA and iii) a ‘quality payment’ for the provision of certain environmental services such as extensive grazing, organic farming, maintenance of biodiversity rich areas, PDO and PGI production methods etc;
  2. A system for the management of risks and crises to provide a safety net for farmers; and
  3. An aid scheme for measures such as vocational training, early retirement and investments to promote economic diversification in the rural economy.

The need for a strong agricultural sector

Intervening at the hearing COPA Vice-President Gerd Sonnleiter emphasised the importance of maintaining the EU’s production potential, a point reiterated by Rafael Hernandez (European Coordination Via Campesina). Peter Kendall (President, National Farmers Union) also called for the EU to put in place ‘measures to strengthen the position of farmers in the market place’. DG Agriculture’s Director of Economic Analysis, Tassos Haniotis, commented that constraints on food supply rather than the growth in global demand might be seen as a particular challenge for future food security.

Speaking at the 3rd Forum for the Future of Agriculture on 16 March 2010, organised by Syngenta and the European Landowners’ Organisation, Environment Commissioner Janez Poto?nik, called for a significant strengthening of support for the provision of environmental goods and services in the CAP. He suggested that the historical reference model of support should be replaced by criteria such as the occurrence of permanent grassland, that reflected the ability of different regions to provide environmental goods and services, and hence providing a more appropriate basis for establishing differential payments between them.

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PUBLICATION DATE

08 Apr 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.