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Progress continues towards the reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, with the European Parliament making moves to establish its position.

Following a public consultation, from February – April 2017, the Commission published a Communication on the “Future of Food and Farming”, last November. MEPs are now taking the opportunity to respond to the Communication, through an own initiative report, on which, debate was opened on Monday in the Agricultural Committee.

The largest concerns among MEPs regarded financing, given the implications of Brexit on the EU budget as well as the calls from other sectors, such as security and migration for further funding, as well as the need for simplification of the policy.

ICOS has highlighted a number of points within the debate, including its support for the Commission’s proposed delivery model, provided that it ensures genuine simplification and does not led to a fragmentation of the EU’s single market. We have also stated our strong opposition to compulsory capping and degressive payments within the direct payment system. Rather we call for support to be better targeted at active, commercial farmers.

Additionally, we are calling on MEPs, the European Commission and the Irish Government to prioritise measures that will improve the position of farmers in the supply chain, including through providing support for the creation and further development of cooperatives. This should include the automatic recognition of cooperatives as Producer Organisations and facilitation of multi-sectoral POs, as well as support funding to help cooperatives develop their businesses, within the areas of the circular economy, bioeconomy and smart farming tools and technology, to enable them to better support farmers and rural economies.

The European Parliament report will feed into the Commission’s legislative proposal on the EU budget, expected in early May 2018, and on the CAP-post 2020, expected shortly after, in June.


By Alison Graham                                                                                                                                                

European Affairs Executive