Cities and regions are calling for a fair, sustainable, solidarity-based common agricultural policy (CAP) serving the needs of farmers, regions, consumers and Europeans. The new CAP must enable farmers to make a decent living, as this is a prerequisite for attracting sufficient numbers of young people and reversing the marked decline in the farming population.
During a conference organised by the Romanian presidency of the EU on 13 May in Brussels, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), defended European farmers against attempts to reduce the CAP budget. He pointed out that of all the many challenges facing the future CAP, the CoR is particularly worried about promoting generational renewal. "Unless they can expect fair agricultural prices and thus economic recognition for their efforts, young people will continue to turn their backs on this sector," explain the rapporteur for the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on the reform of the common agricultural policy, Guillaume Cros (FR/PES), Vice-president of the Occitania region.
CoR summarised the stance adopted by Europe's regions:
- direct payments need to be distributed more fairly between farms, regions and Member States. They need to be recalibrated with a real and effective ceiling, a mandatory and properly funded redistributive payment and full internal and external convergence of payments by 2027;
- a compulsory "young farmers' bonus" needs to be established to encourage young people to take up farming as a profession;
- voluntary crisis management tools based on the management of production volumes need to be put in place;
- farmers switching to a sustainable form of agriculture and endeavouring to meet climate and biodiversity targets need to be supported – a minimum of 30% of first pillar funds should be earmarked for environmental mechanisms;
- common European targets should be built into the regulation on national strategic plans, such as reducing pesticides and greenhouse gases by 30%, doubling the amount of land used for organic farming and steadily cutting back on cage-based livestock farming;
- a rural agenda needs to be adopted so as to improve access to public services in rural areas and raise the standard of basic infrastructure by focusing on high-speed internet;
- the regions' role with regard to managing and implementing the CAP needs to be kept up and bolstered.
CoR opinion on "The CAP after 2020"
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