Commission review process threatens to 'undermine' CAP reform

A coalition of centre-right and liberal MEPs have been accused of attempting to "undermine" the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform, by blocking measures aimed at 'greening' the sector. Gerald Callaghan reports

By Gerald Callaghan

04 Apr 2014

Speaking at a press conference in the European parliament on Thursday, Martin Häusling, the Greens/EFA group agriculture spokesperson, said actions by this coalition to "undermine" the reform of the CAP threatened to "destroy completely or severely weaken" attempts to promote less environmentally-destructive agricultural practices.

The German deputy went on to say that it was now the responsibility of the Greens to ensure the CAP reform doesn't "collapse".

The council and parliament reached an agreement on CAP reform in June 2013 and the last remaining issues were finalised in September of that year, while last month, the European commission adopted 'delegated acts' detailing rules that supplement and amend the basic regulations.

The commission will consider the revision of these rules after the first year of their application.

However, Jose Bové, a vice-chair of parliament's agricultural and rural affairs (AGRI) committee, said this review could lead to the environmentally beneficial practices proposed in the reformed CAP being "reduced even further".

Parliament is still considering the commission's proposed implementation of 'delegated acts' which they must agree in order for the legislation to be finalised, allowing member states to proceed with the introduction of a reformed CAP in 2015.

There are 10 delegated acts associated with pillar one of the CAP reform and three of these are causing concern for members of parliament's AGRI committee.

These key areas are the rules associated with direct payments, horizontal regulations and fruit and vegetables regulations.

The conservative right of the parliament have repeatedly called for the rejection of delegated acts which they see as overly complex, overly bureaucratic and impossible to implement.

"We will not participate in this ultimate diversionary tactic against the need to adapt agricultural practices to the destructive effects of climate disruption" - Jose Bové

However, Bové branded the actions of the so-called coalition as "unacceptable blackmail", with the Greens/EFA deputy saying that the conservatives in parliament did not want to "see any change" from business as usual.

The French politician insisted the CAP reform process had been a "disaster for farming [and] for the environment".

He believed that parliament has "been held hostage" by EU agricultural and food lobbies who are trying to water down measures at greening the sector and making it fairer in the distribution of subsidies.

"We will not participate in this ultimate diversionary tactic against the need to adapt agricultural practices to the destructive effects of climate disruption", added Bové.

The agriculture committee votes on 7 April on the delegated acts tabled by the commission.


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