Brussels promises to 'listen'
A discussion document on proposed changes to CAP will be published later this year, but firm proposals on the new regime will not be available until 2011.
Commission researcher Mark Cropper told the Thurles conference that Brussels was "listening" to the views of stakeholders and interested parties. He said this process would inform the content of the discussion document and form the basis for next year's proposals.
The Commission official said the European parliament's new co-decision powers meant that the process of formulating policy in Brussels had changed "radically".
Mr Cropper said MEPs would have a far greater input in directing policy and he predicted that this should be borne in mind by those seeking to influence legislation from Brussels.
On the question of national governments having greater flexibility in the manner in which they allocate CAP funds, Belgian MEP Marc Tarrabella said this was a definite possibility.
Mr Tarrabella said the reality at local level was that specific sectors invariably needed additional support from time to time.
The Belgian MEP was opposed to the idea of moving a greater percentage of the CAP budget from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2.
The co-financing requirement of Pillar 2 schemes by member states could lead to the renationalisation of CAP, he contended.