The European Commission’s eagerly awaited proposals for an overhaul of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2013 have been criticised today as a mixture between good and bad ideas that ultimately fail the key test of sustainability and competitiveness by the Liberal and Democrat Group (ALDE).
Commenting after the presentation of the Commission’s legislative package to the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee today, UK Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon (ALDE), who last year opened the debate on how to reform the CAP after 2013 with an own initiative report, said:
“On the key test of whether the proposals will incentivise and develop a more sustainable, more competitive, more carbon efficient agriculture the whole package falls dreadfully short.
“The greening of the direct payments as proposed by the Commission is nothing more than green-wash and the measures run a real risk of making European farmers less competitive. To quote just one concrete example, it is complete nonsense to require 7% of each farm’s land to be set aside for ecological purposes at a time of food and energy scarcity.
“However, I strongly welcome the proposals to target payments at active farmers, young farmers, green measures and farmers situated in areas under natural constraints who most need support. I also welcome the proposed further alignment of the CAP with the EU’s 2020 strategy under rural development, in particular stressing research and innovation.
“There will be political concerns and details to work out on the redistribution of payments between Member States and between farmers, most notably the transition from historic payments to area based systems.
“Overall, the package needs to be greatly improved, if it is to win the support of the Parliament.”