During the plenary session of October 20th, 21st, and 22nd, the European Parliament defined the architecture and the main lines of CAP reform it intends to see implemented from 2023 onwards and which it will defend during the negotiations that will begin in November with the Council, in the presence of the Commission (Trilogues). Voting on the other sessions will take place in the following days.
The European Parliament, as the bearer of a European and common ambition for the Common Agricultural Policy, has chosen, in all responsibility, to move away from the reform proposal presented in 2018 by the European Commission. Farm Europe, who warned since the Commission proposal about the risks of a renationalization, welcomes the fact that the European parliament has rectified the direction, by underlying the “C” in the CAP.
Faced with a proposal that would split the CAP into 27 national policies, with a higher risk of market distortions, by cutting the relationship between Europe and the final beneficiary of this policy and by placing on the Member States’ shoulders the essential responsibilities, the European Parliament voted by a very large majority (more than 2/3) in favour of:
- a policy with common agricultural, environmental and social ambitions for all the territories of the European Union,
- a policy to reconcile the economy and the environment, for European agriculture and for our rural areas,
- a policy that is transparent in the management of European funds and capable of demonstrating its effectiveness and measuring the results it generates,
- a policy that does not confuse necessary flexibility with renationalisation,
- lastly, a policy endorsing the European social acquis.
Noting that sustainable economic development can only be achieved on the basis of true sustainability, just as effective environmental management and the fight against climate change require economically prosperous actors, the MEPs propose a rebalancing of the priorities and tools of both the 1st and 2nd pillars around a search for dual economic and environmental performance.
The work carried out by key MEPs from the main political groups, following on from the one already set in May 2019 by the rapporteurs of the previous legislature, has been remarkable, even if some issues, such as the common ambition of eco-schemes, are still under work. It brings meaning and realism to the first European policy to regain its raison d’être: a policy through which the European Union invests in its future through its agriculture and rural areas.
This is an essential first step in order to start negotiations in Trilogues, as soon as the Council of Agriculture Ministers, too, will be in a position to do so with a general approach bearing a European ambition and moving away from the initial reactions of seeking maximum flexibilities to the detriment of the common good that only a European dimension can ensure.