The CAP should be turned into an agricultural policy that is fair, sustainable and based on solidarity for the benefit of farmers, regions, consumers and members of the public
The CAP should also help to preserve agricultural activity across the Union and a vibrant rural fabric in order to meet the territorial cohesion objective set out in the Treaty of Lisbon. All the proposals in this opinion are therefore intended to contribute to achieving the above-mentioned objective, through :
Regulating agricultural markets, fighting unfair trade practices and asking for fair conditions in bilateral trade agreements;
Rebalancing direct payments to benefit small and young farmers. The CoR advocates capping and adjusting direct payments per agricultural worker under the first pillar;
Adopting a rural agenda and strengthening EU financial support for rural development.
The CoR Rapporteur, Guillaume Cros, presented the CoR opinion:
The CoR rapporteur, Guillaume Cros, had several bilateral meetings with members of the Commission Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament to follow the work of the AGRI committee on the omnibus regulation which will amend the CAP regulation.
On 4 May 2017, the rapporteur took part in a joint conference organised by the NAT commission and the Rurality-Environment-Development (R.E.D.) association on rural policy post 2020. The first part of the seminar looked at how the framework has been implemented in the light of practical experience. The second part of the seminar introduced the debate on mobilising some European thematic policies in support of rural areas, discussing territorial cohesion and the positive links between rural and urban poles.
The afternoon session discussed policies that need to be carried out by the Commission and other European authorities to boost rural areas with the participation of the Chair of the Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament, Czeslaw Siekierski, the Cabinet of Commissioner Crețu and Mihail Dumitru, Deputy Director-General of DG Agri.
The CoR rapporteur, Guillaume Cros, presented his draft opinion on 11 May 2017 at the European Environmental Bureau /Bird life conference Who will fix the broken CAP? A recipe for a Living Land and on 18 May at the Commission for Agriculture of the ARF (French regions associations)
On 26 June 2017 at the workshop on "Rural-Urban dimensions: towards more territorial and social cohesion" co-organised by the EESC's NAT Section , Rurality-Environment-Development and the European Countryside Movement during the Civil Society Days 2017. The objective was to identify two or three key recommendations to rebalance rural and urban dimensions in policy-making with a special emphasis on those that could mobilise civil society. These recommendations were proposed for inclusion on the list, which was formally adopted during the follow-up to the Civil Society Days by the Liaison Group between the EESC and the civil society organisations.
On 7 July 2017 at the conference "The CAP: have your say!" in Brussels. This conference took stock of the results of the consultation on the future of the common agricultural policy launched in February 2017 and to see how they match the scientific evidence on the ground compiled by the Commission.
On 26 August 2017 during the European Summer University for social movements in Toulouse (France). The seminar, "Alternative approaches to agriculture and food in a new Europe", addressed the causes and consequences of agricultural crises in Europe and the rest of the world. It also examined the income farmers earn from agriculture, subsidies, food sovereignty.
On the 9 of March 2018, the rapporteur met with Petr BLIZKOVSKY Director in charge of CAP at the Council and Zefrira ESKIDAROVA from the Council Presidency to exchange on the COR opinion on the future of CAP after 2020.
On 19 March 2018, the Committee of the Regions organised a conference on Financing the integrated development of rural areas: A goal that lies at the heart of the need for social, economic and territorial cohesion: the EU budget in perspective. Proposal for a cross-funding initiative for rural development to support the European Rural Agenda. The conference included addresses from Mihail DUMITRU, Deputy Director General, DG AGRI, European Commission and Franc BOGOVIC (SL/EPP), Member of the European Parliament and Vice-President of the Parliament's RUMRA Intergroup.
On the 23 March 2018, the opinion of the CoR on the CAP after 2020 will be presented during the ECVC conference "A CAP for small farmers & citizens", organized at the European Parliament. With the participation of Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission and European peasants will be discussed the vision of European agriculture and food policies and the future of the CAP post-2020
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- argues that the CAP should be turned into an agricultural policy that is fair, sustainable and based on solidarity for the benefit of farmers, regions, consumers and members of the public;
- hopes that the CAP budget will be kept at a sufficiently high level in keeping with the principles set out in the EU treaties;
- rejects the idea of co-financing for the first pillar of the CAP, which would undermine the position of the CAP as the sole integrated EU policy, effectively re-nationalising it, and would put farmers in the poorest EU countries at a disadvantage;
- believes that, with a view to making farming attractive and ensuring safe and high-quality European agriculture, regulated markets could ensure better pay for farmers; also believes that the position of farmers needs to be strengthened vis-à-vis other stakeholders in the sector;
- calls on the EU to use its influence as the world's largest food importer and exporter to change the international agricultural trade rules introduced in 1994 (WTO) so as to encourage greater fairness and solidarity in trade relations;
- advocates capping and adjusting the direct payments per agricultural worker under the first pillar;
- calls, as part of greening, for environmental measures and aid for environment- and climate-friendly practices to be gradually reinforced including crop rotation, upholding the ban on ploughing permanent grassland, and maintaining ecological focus areas in which the cultivation or use of plant protection products is prohibited;
- calls for a strengthening of the second CAP pillar and an increase in rural development budgets; also calls for a greater degree of subsidiarity enabling Member States to transfer funds from the first to the second pillar;
- proposes strengthening the EU's overall financial support for rural development, which has decreased significantly in comparison with the previous programming period;
- recommends adopting a rural strategy enabling all EU policies to contribute to territorial cohesion goals.