Commission favouring option two among trio
Three options have been proposed for CAP post-2013 but Commission officials accept that just one of the three is a realistic runner.
Option one -- 'Enhanced Status Quo' -- would leave the current direct payment system in place but would aim to introduce more equity in the distribution of direct payments.
Option two -- 'More Balanced, Targeted and Sustainable Support' -- would aim to substantially change the manner in which direct payments are delivered, while bringing more equity in their distribution.
Option three -- 'Abolish Market and Income Supports' -- would phase out direct payments in their current form and instead provide limited payments for environmental goods and additional-specific natural constraints payments.
In reality, Option two is the primary Commission proposal and the one on which future discussions will be based.
The measures included in this option closely follow the outline laid down by Dacian Ciolos, the EU Agriculture Commissioner, over the past few months.
Commission officials accept that the proposals are short on financial commitments but they stressed that the paper is "conceptual" not budgetary.
"This sets out clear principles for what we want CAP to do and the tools that we aim to use," a Commission source said.