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CAP reform: position of the Agriculture Ministers

21 March 2013

A missed opportunity for the CAP to create jobs. The Council destroys any meagre hopes still held by European farmers of achieving a fairer and more sustainable CAP.

CAP Reform 2014-2020: A missed opportunity for the CAP to create jobs The position of the EU Agricultural Council, finalised on the 19th of March, destroys any meagre hopes still held by European farmers of achieving a fairer and more sustainable CAP. EU governments are turning a blind eye to the problems most European farmers are facing, especially small and medium-sized farms, which are disappearing. The preparatory discussions held in 2010-11 clearly highlighted the extent of the challenges that need to be met. Following a proposal by the Commission that was based on market deregulation, and that took some small steps forward on social and environmental issues, all that remains on the negotiation table of the three-sided negotiation is deregulation, greenwashing and renationalisation. The Council has turned the ceiling for direct payments – even proposed at a too high level- into an option for the Member States: how can we justify to taxpayers that over 80% of these payments will continue to be made to the biggest farms? Much of what is produced by farmers under the current CAP is sold at prices below production costs. Direct payment is therefore essential to their survival. To benefit producers and productions that need support, they should be linked to price and production. Yet the current decoupling between direct payments and production does not allow for this. Measures aimed at a fairer sharing of direct payments have been seriously weakened (sabotage of internal convergence) or renationalised (capping, additional bonus for the first hectares, support for small-scale farmers, and support for young farmers). With the weakening of the already very pale greening proposals and the extension of exemptions, we are not going to stop the already serious environmental problems. As to rural development, with a seriously reduced budget, the possibility of transferring between 15 and 25% of funds from the second pillar to the first is liable to leave little margin for manoeuvre, particularly as insurance can take up an important part of the funds. The very moment when the EU needs sense, legibility and cohesion more than ever, the Cap reform that they are about to adopt will take us in precisely the opposite direction. Sustainable family farming, that is the very characteristic of European agriculture, that creates jobs, good local produce and landscapes remains in grave danger. Spokesperson ECVC : Geneviève Savigny + 33 625551687; Hanny Van Geel +31 613903434 Press Contact ECVC: Marzia Rezzin +32 473300156 Spokesperson ECVC : Geneviève Savigny + 33 625551687; Hanny Van Geel +31 613903434 Press Contact ECVC: Marzia Rezzin +32 473300156

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