The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee voted on 3rd May, to adopt a number of amendments to the European Commission’s so-called “Omnibus Proposal”.
The purpose of the Omnibus Proposal is to simplify the rules and controls within the current CAP. Included in these amendments by the European Parliament is a proposal to formalise into the CAP infrastructure a permanent supply reduction scheme. In autumn 2016, the Commission introduced a temporary supply reduction scheme with a budget of €150 million allocated, of which at least €30 million was unspent and is likely to be returned to the broader EU budget. While, the jury may be still out on the effectiveness or otherwise of the temporary reduction scheme in helping to restore market balance. Perhaps the European Parliament in the first instance should examine this question before looking to introduce substantial change? More fundamentally, the question of financing a permanent supply reduction scheme has not been addressed by the European Parliament, as a permanent measure by its very nature requires permanent funding. It is clear that there are stakeholders at EU level and certain MEP’s who would favour the imposition of a levy on farmers who continue to increase production during the same period when a reduction scheme is in place. The Omnibus Proposal never envisaged widespread change to the CAP. As such, there appears to be little appetite in the other key institutions including the Council and Commission to move beyond the narrow focus of the Omnibus Proposal, which is simplification. That said, the European Parliament has sent a clear political statement ahead of the next CAP reform.
By Eamonn Farrell & Alison Graham
21 Sep 2023