A summary of the debate with a focus on Food & Drink and Trade is now available.
EP AGRI Committee Meeting – 12 March 2018
3. The Future of Food and Farming
·Consideration of draft report
·Deadline for tabling amendments:19 March 2018, 13.00
Rapporteur Herbert Dorfmann (EPP, IT)
- the report had to be approved by the 17 May, thus they needed to speed up the process;
- the report’s aim was not political, but the spirit was for the EP to have a common position towards the CAP reform;
- there were 3 chapters in the report as the Commission had planned to publish 3 legislative proposals. One would focus on the principle of subsidiarity and how to deliver on the CAP. In his view, the model needed to better suit the MS’s needs, but still remaining a European, common policy. He was afraid that there would be an abuse of the subsidiarity principle;
- for the second pillar of the CAP, the regions played a significant role and it should be kept that way;
- CAP in the next MFF should get at least the same funds that it got in the past;
- family farms were also a crucial element that should be maintained. A mechanism to ensure the survival of small farms should also be kept;
- the issue of capping should be left to MS;
- differences in productions costs and economy should be observed when discussing the issue of direct payments;
- coupled payments were still needed but they should not distort competition;
- concerning the issue of the milk markets: support supply should be incentivized and crisis mechanisms should be established;
- the legislative proposal should be ready by June, thus he urged the Members to cooperate in order to ensure a strong position for the EP ahead of it.
Clara Eugenia Aguilera García (S&D, ES)
- the greening and the coupling aspects should not be left in the hands of the MS;
- crisis management should be improved.
James Nicholson (ECR, UK)
- he noticed that every other EU policy area wanted to get money destined to the CAP budget;
- he was concerned about the possibility for MS to take “necessary measures” and distort the point of a common, European” agriculture policy.
Ulrike Müller (ALDE, DE)
- she supported a simplification for the CAP and she shared James Nicholson ‘s concerns about the budget after Brexit;
- she supported the inclusion of agro-tourism in the report;
- organic farming should be included in the coupled payments system.
Marco Zullo (EFDD, IT)
- the new delivery module was very worrying and they were concerned that the CAP would be re-nationalised;
- if common values were to be left in the hands of MS and market practices, unfair trade practices would be the result;
- he agreed with the fact that economy and labour costs had to be taken into account when discussing the CAP.
Philippe Loiseau (ENR, FR)
- finding a common approach before the end of the year was unlikely;
- he was in favour of more flexibility to MS and he did not see the principle of subsidiarity exercised enough;
- he mentioned the ECA report that showed how the CAP was being ineffective in rural areas and he considered that to be a failure.
Michel Dantin (EPP, FR)
- a common basis for all the European farmers should be ensured and not left in the hands of the MS;
- farming and the economy should be reconciled and the EP should adopt a more pragmatic approach that it used towards greening, making sure that organic farming was recognised through a system of certification;
- coupled aid was effective but it also had its limits, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables;
- he also supported the creation of a crisis management scheme.
Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR)
- volatility was farming’s main problem and the institutions had to intervene when the markets were not working properly;
- the crisis reserve was a good idea and the possibility of pluri-annuality had to be considered in that context;
- farmers should be encouraged to change their production’s model in order to be sustainable.
Jean-Paul Denanot (S&D, FR)
- aid was still necessary, especially for family farms in the rural areas.
Marijana Petir (EPP, HR)
- the CAP was important for increasing the overall income of farmers in rural areas. The average income of farmers in Croatia was lower than other EU countries, which made agriculture a non-attractive occupation;
- generation renewal in the sector was also very important;
- forestry and bioeconomy were not included in the report, and she reminded the Members that those were crucial issues hence should be mentioned.
Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT)
- the AGRI Committee would never accept that the new delivery model would become a way to renationalise the CAP;
- he was also skeptical about concluding the legislative process before the end of the mandate.
- a new CAP was necessary but the process should not be rushed;
- farmers’ incomes were not only dependent on the CAP but also on trade agreements, hence consistency should be ensured when negotiations with other parties were ongoing;
- the right to competition should be reconciled with the right of farmers to create groups that would enable them to stand united in front of supermarkets and big brands.
Angélique Delahaye (EPP, FR)
- the ENVI Committee would submit an opinion in April that would focus on delivering quality food with high environmental standards.
Jan Huitema (ALDE, NL)
- a discussion on the goals that the CAP should achieve should be the priority;
- the main goal in his view was to increase the competitiveness of the farmers, hence investments in trade deals and innovation should be prioritized.
Luke Ming Flanagan (GUE/NGL, IE)
- fair CAP payment distributions should be the main topic of the reform;
- he did not support the creation of new trade deals that had bad consequences on the European farming sector.
Mairead McGuinness (EPP, IE)
- some clarification was needed on the concept of family farm;
- in her view, the report would have a lot of amendments hence the EP would not give a clear signal to the Commission.
A representative from the European Commission made the following remarks
- the new delivery module would cover both pillars of the CAP in order to ensure consistency and he ensured that the Commission was not planning to renationalise the CAP;
- risk-management tools needed to be ensured for both pillars;
- the system of greening should be reformed and 3 layers should be ensured. A flexible, voluntary system would also enable the MS to take the necessary measures and improve the overall CAP effectiveness;
- he was also skeptical about the question of timing, but if the report was tabled for April then they could have a chance in finalising the file before the end of the mandate.
Source: One Policy Place