Solutions for the future CAP
At the end of the year is the earliest point when EU Member States are expected to reach an agreement on the budget for 2021-2027, therefore, the agricultural ministers themselves are not able to decide on the future Common Agricultural policy (CAP) before 2020. This was stated by the Ministers of Agriculture after an informal meeting at the end of September in Helsinki, announced the press centre of the European Commission.
The Finnish Presidency hopes to hold the CAP negotiations after 2020 “as long as that’s possible”, but everything will depend on how the discussions of the EU Heads of State or Government will continue, under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.
According to the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, the timetable will stretch till December. The French Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume, expressed an optimistic opinion that it is possible to have a common budget framework by the end of the year, as this is in the interest of European Agriculture.
The new Croatian Minister Maria Vuckovic, who will take over the Presidency of the Agriculture Council on 1 January 2020, expresses hope that it is possible to reach an agreement on the CAP by the end of the year. She also added that “at the beginning of the Croatian Presidency, we will be ready to start the discussions”. The European Parliament is expected to adopt its position at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2020.
According to Croatia, it will be necessary to ensure a swift adoption of a regulation on transitional CAP measures in order to avoid possible interruptions of payments as well as legal uncertainty between the current and the new CAP. “Such measures are discussed in the European Commission and must cover a period of one year,” said Commissioner Hogan.
EU leaders are expected to hold a debate on the MFF in mid-October, but many fear that this summit will focus on Brexit, as it is two weeks ahead of the planned date for the leaving of the UK.
The Secretary General of Kopa-Kojeka, Pekka Pesonen, also stressed that “there will probably be no data on the MFF in October”. Some Member States continue to insist on keeping the future CAP budget at the current level, stressing that they want the first pillar (direct payments and market measures) “to remain strong” and “eco-schemes” to be binding on the Member States.
Some Member States disagreed with the reduction of rural development budgets for 2021-2027 (in the Commission’s proposal for the next MFF). Ministers of Agriculture stressed that the CAP proposal after the year 2020, offers sufficient tools to combat climate change and increase soil carbon storage. According to the Finnish Minister of Agriculture, Jari Leppa, there are good agricultural and environmental practices that can help a further absorbtion of carbon by the soil, and there is a possibility for the CAP to support their implementation.