Agriculture Ministers discussed the objectives of the CAP and future implementation
The EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council met in Brussels on 29 January 2018. The main topic of the discussions was the future of the Common Agricultural Policy. Also on the agenda were the market situation of agricultural products and international trade. The Finnish representative at the meeting was Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.
In particular, the Agriculture Ministers talked about the added value produced by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), policy objectives and future implementation. The Ministers stressed that the objectives stated in the Treaty establishing the European Community are still valid. In addition, the CAP must also respond to future challenges, including climate change and other global trends. According to the Ministers, the CAP brings added value both to farmers and the EU citizens as well as the society at large. Food security and food safety are good examples of this. However, sufficient financial resources must be allocated to the CAP in order that the policy is capable of responding to the requirements set for it and future challenges.
– A fair income level for farmers and profitable agricultural production are still the key issue. Without these, the Common Agricultural Policy cannot fulfil the ambitious objectives set for it. Balanced development of the rural areas and maintaining production in all regions of the Community are also important, and so is the promotion of the bioeconomy and circular economy as part of the CAP, Minister Leppä says.
Most of the Ministers support the proposed distribution of tasks between the Member States and Commission. Many of them consider the objectives set at the EU level and the framework of measures as a good foundation to build on. The Ministers consider that the Member States should be allowed freedom to decide about the measures that are suited to their specific circumstances. The Commissioner of Agriculture Phil Hogan stressed that the Commission has heard the Member States and farmers and now offers the opportunity for the simplification of the policy in practice.
– Simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy is a key element of the reform. The new model of policy implementation must lead to genuine simplification in the sector. Among the issues concerned are the strategies of individual Member States, which must be as simple and straightforward as possible, and flexible enough to allow changes to be made if required as circumstances may change. One of the aims is also to ease the administrative burden caused by the controls, Minister Leppä says.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council will continue to discuss the future of the CAP at the spring meetings. Legislative proposals from the Commission are expected in June.
Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Kari Valonen, Director, Head of EU Coordination and International Affairs, tel. +358 295 162 269