Meeting in Brussels this week, EU Agricultural Ministers discussed the reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which remains stuck, due to the upheaval of the EU institutions and halting progress in discussions between EU member states on the next multiannual EU budget.
With Finland taking over the rotating EU Council Presidency for the next 6 months, the focus of the discussions has shifted to environmental and climate related aspects of the reform package. The ministers broadly backed the commitment within the reform to higher environmental and climate ambition. However, they shared the call by Ireland’s Michael Creed, for the “green architecture” of the CAP to be “clear and simple” for farmers and questioned some of the practicalities of funding for eco-schemes which must still be worked out.
Unless existing uncertainties on the budget and outcome of Brexit are resolved, EU member states are not expected to reach a position on the reform until early 2020.
Meanwhile in the European Parliament, the new Agriculture Committee has been formed, which includes nearly 50% new MEPs, together with three returning Irish MEPs- Mairead McGuinness, Matt Carthy and Luke Ming Flanagan. The Committee’s work will kick off in earnest on the 23rd July, with a meeting with EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, to discuss the reform of the CAP amongst others. MEPs will need to decide whether or not to maintain the position of the previous Agriculture Committee with regard to the three CAP regulations or to revise them – a process which could take up to a year to complete.
With this in mind, CAP transition arrangements are likely to be tabled before the end of the year to prolong the current policy as a stop-gap solution until the reform package is ready to be implemented in 2022/23
Alison Graham – European Affairs Executive
28 May 2021