Common Agricultural Policy

Greener, but fairer?

Published on 27 June 2013 at 14:42


“Agriculture that is a little bit greener,” announces La Libre Belgique in the wake of the agreement concluded by the Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), on June 26 in Brussels. The agreement, backed by a €53bn annual budget, stipulates 30 per cent of its funds will be allocated to respect for environmental measures, such as crop diversification.

In its editorial, however, the daily notes

In the light of numerous reservations expressed by MEPs and member states, the new CAP has a very “custom made” look with multiple provisions that will enable countries to adapt it to suit themselves. It is neither certain this has made it more coherent or readable, nor that it has reinforced its [the CAP’s] European spirit.”

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In Romania, news website Hotnews notes the reform, which has abolished unjust measures including “subsidies for airports and golf clubs that own agricultural land”, provides for a more equitable division of funds, since no member state will receive less than 75 per cent of the European average between now and 2019. There is also support for young farmers during their first five years of activity and specific rules on competition.

For Público, which delightedly welcomes an increase in funding for Portuguese farmers, the agreement amounts to “the CAP’s farthest-reaching reform in a decade,” even though “it does not correct the original distorsions.” With this in mind, the Portuguese daily wonders if the new measures will be enough to restore balance in a policy that has not always been a model of fairness and that has not “succeeded in closing the gap between agriculture in less developed countries like Portugal and their more advanced neighbours” —

In the future, aid for those who have grown used to receiving more and more will be reduced to help those who currently receive the least funds. The problem is that this improvement does not go far enough. In 2019, farmers in Portugal will receive an average of €610 in subsidies per year, while their Danish colleagues will be entitled to €910. Overall, Portugal will be allocated less than was earmarked in the last financial planning cycle. At the same time, it remains to be seen how the obligation to respect environmental measures will affect the most productive and competitive companies, like tomato and corn producers.

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