Disappointing outcome for the environment from COMAGRI CAP Reform vote

29 JAN 2013

The results of last week’s vote (23-24 Jan) in the European Parliament’s Committee on Agricultural and Rural Development was disappointing for the environment, with the proposals for greening Pillar 1 significantly weakened, double funding permitted, coupled support increased and extended to a wider set of agricultural sectors and cross compliance weakened and reduced in scope. On the positive side MEPs voted to increase the proportion of Pillar 1 funds that could be transferred to Pillar 2 (rural development) to 15 per cent, although worryingly this was balanced by an increase in the proportion of funds that can be transferred in the opposite direction (up to 10 per cent). They also propose that Member States should be required to spend 25 per cent of their rural development budget on environmental measures. The amendments have been met with a mixed response, with political parties split in their views. Environmental NGOs have reacted with anger at the environmentally backward direction of travel, while farming organisations have welcomed the increased flexibility. It is hoped that some of the decisions taken can be reversed at the plenary session in March.

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EP vote must not undermine a greener CAP

22 JAN 2013

A decade’s progress in improving the Common Agricultural Policy’s environmental credentials risks being lost if the EP vote to water down the Commission’s ambitious proposals to green the CAP.

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CAP reform under the new Irish Presidency

18 JAN 2013

The Irish EU Presidency commenced on 1 January 2013 with an agenda that focusses on stability, growth and jobs. Delays to the CAP reform proposals under the Cypriot Presidency mean that the pressure is now on the Irish Presidency to secure a CAP agreement before the end of June. A tentative timeframe for the CAP reform and other relevant areas of policy is discussed here.

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Land Stewardship in England post 2013: CAP greening and agri-environment

18 JAN 2013

What will the introduction of environmental measures in Pillar 1 mean for agri-environment schemes in the future? A topic of much debate as part of the CAP reform negotiations, this new report explores the potential impacts of greening Pillar 1 on England’s entry-level agri-environment scheme and how a future scheme could be designed to deliver more for the environment and ensure the long term sustainability of farming.

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Will Europe’s soil carbon stores be better protected by the revised GAEC framework?

IEEP, 17 DEC 2012

One of the key elements of the current CAP reform, aimed at protecting existing carbon stocks, so far appears to have been failing to gain support within the European Parliament, for reasons which are unclear.

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EU budget mired: Council to re-convene in the New Year

26 NOV 2012

The special European Council on the MFF ended in deadlock on 23 November with Council negotiations expected to re-convene in the New Year.

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Rural development budget in peril

15 NOV 2012

The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has issued a new negotiating text for the forthcoming MFF in preparation for the forthcoming Council meeting. He proposes further cuts of €75 billion to the Commission proposals, exceeding those recently tabled by the Cypriot Presidency (€50 billion). The implications for rural development are serious.

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MFF negotiations risk reducing funding for rural land management

01 NOV 2012

The negotiations on the EU’s budget for the next seven years – called the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) – are now fully underway. The Cypriot Presidency has just published their attempt to bridge the gap between the Commission’s proposals for a small increase and those that are calling for reductions, most notably the UK. These negotiations and the debates on the reform of the CAP strongly interact because agriculture takes a major share of the EU budget. How this is resolved will have major implications for the environmental performance of EU agriculture.

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Agroforestry: Trees for a Sustainable European Agriculture

17 OCT 2012

Recent European Parliament conference entitled “Agroforestry: Trees for a Sustainable European Agriculture” (10 October) brought together an audience of about 80 and several speakers representing scientists, farmers and policy researchers to discuss the potential benefits that agroforestry can deliver.

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Why would this be the time to overturn the strategy for CAP reform?


Those of us with long memories of CAP reforms know that there can be many dramas, dead ends and diversions along the way. Nonetheless, there has been a discernible direction of travel for two decades or more.

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Caring for the planet starts from the ground


If caring for the planet starts from the ground, then caring for the planet starts with farmers and foresters and all others who manage and use Europe’s soils.

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Out of the box thinking on the CAP


RISE Foundation project outlines new thinking on the further modernisation of the CAP

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Rural Development back on the agenda at Cork


David Baldock sets out his view on the Cork 2 conference which he and others at IEEP attended and about what this might mean for the future of rural development policy.

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