'Significant changes to CAP on the way, but won't happen overnight'
Budgetary pressures in the EU, strong lobbying by environmental organisations, a looming Brexit and frustration among farmers with the Common Agricultural Policy will mean significant changes to the Common Agricultural Policy
European Parliament Vice-President, Mairead McGuinness has said that this forms the backdrop to further and potentially significant changes to the CAP post 2020.
“This week saw the opening of a real debate about what comes next in EU farm policy, beginning with a discussion on the recently published report of the Agriculture Markets Task Force and a hearing organised by the Rise Foundation in which experts outlined what they see as the way forward.
“Direct per hectare payments are under attack, some experts regard them as badly focused, inequitable and inefficient as a means to support farm incomes and to deliver environmental objectives. In addition, there are calls for more measures to target market volatility and in the absence of additional money for the CAP then these measures can only be funded through the existing pool of CAP money.”
McGuinness said that while criticism of the CAP and how payments are delivered is growing, there is also a realisation that cutting payments drastically in a short time frame would not be acceptable.
“What we may be looking at is a change to the current system over time and not overnight.”
The MEP underlined that she is more concerned about how the likely more enhanced focus on environmental aspects from the CAP will be delivered.
“There is deep frustration with the greening measures from farmers and environmentalists. Among farmers, there is anger about the overly bureaucratic nature of the measures, which many of us warned about during the reform process.