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Local and regional leaders urge Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski to redistribute income support to maintain agriculture and farmers in all territories  

​The future CAP must be fair, sustainable and based on solidarity for the benefit of all farmers, regions, consumers and citizens, local leaders emphasise.  

Ahead of the adoption of an important opinion on the Future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the two co-rapporteurs together with members of the natural resources (NAT) commission held a debate on European agricultural policies with Janusz Wojciechowski, European Commissioner for Agriculture, and major stakeholders of the agri-food value chain on 22 March.

Future of the Common Agricultural Policy 

Mobilising their direct knowledge of the difficulties faced by Europe's agriculture on the ground, regional and local leaders are finalising their proposals on how to adapt the CAP to the emerging challenges facing rural communities. Reflecting that goal, participants to the debate identified the main priorities for the future of the CAP and discussed how to improve farmers' income.  

After the debate, members of the NAT commission voted the 184 amendments submitted and the opinion was adopted by large majority. The opinion emphasises that a fair redistribution of income support is crucial to maintaining agricultural activity in all geographical areas, slowing down land abandonment and rural depopulation, and tackling long-term challenges such as maintaining jobs in remote rural areas and supporting sectors and farming practices that sustain livelihoods and landscapes. Regional and local representatives also call for the regions to play a prominent role in the governance of the CAP. Common objectives must be defined to avoid distortions to competition between farmers, the rapporteurs suggest.  

Co-rapporteur and Chair of the NAT commission, Isilda Gomes (PT/PES), Mayor of Portimão, said: “With Piotr Calbecki, our top priority is to address the problem of farmers' revenue in Europe. Indeed, I believe the European agricultural crisis cannot be solved sustainably if we do not drastically reduce social inequalities within the agricultural economic model. That is why we propose to rebalance direct payments in favour of small and medium farms and to shift from an aid per hectare to an aid based on the labour intensity to fight against the desertification of rural areas. We must have the courage to put an end to the current agricultural status quo which depopulates our rural areas, devalues the essential work of farmers, nourishes the geography of discontent and destroy our planet. Our regions can make a difference and must be more involved in the elaboration and implementation of the CAP.

Co-rapporteur PiotCalbecki (PL/EPP), president of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie region, said: “We are preparing this opinion in an extremely heated atmosphere, amid widespread and justified farmers protests in Europe. Among the most valuable elements of creating the report on the future of Common Agricultural Policy post 2027, I consider the direct meetings with nearly 200 farmers. Urgent action is needed. We must halt the uncontrolled import of agricultural products and reassess the Green Deal's principles for agriculture. Additionally, we should review the functioning of direct payments and convene a round table to plan the future of European agriculture." 

Mr Calbecki added: “I would like to thank Chairwoman Isilda Gomes and shadow rapporteurs, colleagues from the European Parliament, and Members of the European Committee of the Regions for their contribution to shaping this opinion. I look forward to continuing our work for the transformation of the Common Agricultural Policy to the benefits of all farmers and rural areas.

EU Blue Deal 

The future CAP plans should also encourage sustainable and efficient water management and the CAP budgets must include funds for water infrastructure and management, NAT members agreed in an opinion also adopted in the meeting. Drafted by Karl Vanlouwe, the opinion highlights the numerous water-related risks that regions face. Members therefore call for the creation of an EU Blue Deal, which would complement the EU Green Deal and constitute a long-term strategy aimed at establishing sectoral coherence on water management, climate-change adaptation and reducing the risk of disasters.  

Rapporteur Karl Vanlouwe (BE/EA), member of the Flemish Parliament, said: “Creating a comprehensive Blue Deal as an addition towards the current Green Deal is needed to restore our resilience towards droughts and floodings through nature-based solutions. This 'blue' shift should be made with an emphasis on innovation, supporting vulnerable sectors and engaging with local stakeholders in the implementation process and listening to local needs. A shift through bottom-up integration is needed to reach a widely supported outcome.

Medicine shortages  

In response to the exponential increase of medicines shortages in the EU in recent years, the NAT commission adopted an opinion on how to address an issue that directly affects Europeans' health and that highlights Europe's dependence on foreign suppliers. Members of NAT urged EU leaders to pursue EU sovereignty in the field of health within the broader security, defence, resilience and competitiveness agendas.  

Rapporteur Erika Von Kalben (DE/Greens), vice-president of the State Parliament of Schleswig-Holstein, said: “In the face of the shortage of medicines in Europe, unity becomes our most effective prescription and solidarity can be our remedy. Together with all stakeholders, we must make a collective commitment to ensure the availability and accessibility of essential medicines for all. We need to increase European production capacities, enhance cross-border cooperation in Europe, but also find global trading partners. It is an illusion that one alone can handle the big challenges of the future.

Other discussions 

The Joint Research Centre presented its Rural Toolkit, an explanatory guide aimed to help local authorities, institutions and stakeholders, businesses and individuals to identify and take advantage of existing EU funds, programmes and other funding and support initiatives, and to foster development in rural territories.   


  • Participants to the debate on agriculture: Janusz Wojciechowski, European Commissioner for Agriculture; Marion Picot, Secretary-General of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA); Juliette Jacques, Co-Chair of the Fooddrink EU Expert Group on Agriculture and Deputy Managing Director at Starch Europe; and Christel Delberghe, Director-General of EuroCommerce. 
  • Strategic Dialogue on the future of EU agriculture  
  • CAP Strategic Plans 2023-2027 
  • In an opinion on “the risk management and market regulation tools to strengthen the sustainability of European agriculture", drafted by rapporteur Nicola Caputo (IT/Renew) and adopted on 1 February 2024, the CoR has urged the EU to review how it allocates funds to farmers, to better protect them from the escalating risks of extreme weather, market fluctuations and global crisis: press release 
  • European Commission's communication on addressing medicine shortages in the EU 

Webstreaming of the meeting.  ​

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