Public goods centre stage at the CAP post 2013 Conference

The Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, hosted a successful conference on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) post 2013 attended by 600 stakeholders in Brussels on 19 and 20 July. The conference was planned to mark the end of the public consultation on the subject, launched in April, which is reported to have received the largest response of any Commission consultation on any issue with a total of 5,700 responses from individuals, stakeholders and research institutes.

The conference provided a platform for presenting the results of the public debate and for exploring, in more depth, some of the issues raised and possible solutions so as to feed into DG AGRI’s drafting of the Commission’s concrete proposals for a future CAP, due to be published in the form of a Commission Communication on 15 November 2010.

Public goods as a core rationale for future support

The debate on the future rationale and structure of the CAP post 2013 is now well and truly underway. Despite calls from some sectors and Member States to maintain the status quo, it was clear from the Commissioner’s tone at the conference that this was not an option. He reiterated the fact that Pillar One payments based on historic production levels were no longer justifiable and that means of redistributing payments more equitably would need to be found.

In framing the case for a CAP post 2013, the dominant discourse, both from the consultation responses and during the conference, focused on the use of the CAP to provide those public goods in line with society’s demands. Alongside the concept of public goods, it was clear that High Nature Value (HNV) Farming has also entered the lexicon of a large proportion of stakeholders as well as the Commission, with the need to find ways of supporting HNV farming being highlighted as a key priority for the future. The other key theme that emerged from the workshops and that was taken up by the Commissioner was that of territoriality. Many stakeholders highlighted the need for a future CAP to address the diversity of environmental, social and economic situations in different regions of the EU-27 and the benefits of adopting a territorial approach for achieving this.

However, this is not to say that there was universal agreement on the priorities for a future CAP, with some still arguing that the CAP should continue to provide income support payments to farmers.

Future CAP structure

No formal proposals have been made public yet on how the CAP might be structured, however Mr Ciolos made it clear that the two pillar structure was likely to remain, although the content and structure of both pillars may be changed significantly. In his closing speech, he stated that Pillar One should contain policy measures with the objective of reconciling ‘the economic, environmental, social and territorial dimension’, while Pillar Two could include measures that could be used to ‘modernise farms, deploy new support for innovation, promote diversification in rural areas, help the agriculture sector respond to volatile markets and treat in a horizontal manner the complex challenges linked to climate change’.

1 comment posted

  • blackluees April 18th, 2013

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30 Jul 2010




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.