The European Commission's Communication on the post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), tabled in November 2010, is "a good starting point" for the discussions, Fuksa said.
However, "one of the essential problems is that the Commission is proposing a transitory period before a fair CAP has been finally established,” he said.
Indeed, the Commission has noted that even if differences in payments between the EU-15 and EU-12 cannot be continued, a transition period is needed to avoid "a revolution" and to enable farmers who are receiving historial payments to adapt to their new situation.
"We disagree here. The CAP should be fair, not only 'fairer' as outlined in the Commission's options for reform, and it should also be fair from the first day the new rules are applied, not after several years," Fuksa stressed.
Based on an agreement struck during pre-accession negotiations, the EU's new member states are not due to receive the full amount of direct payments to which they ought to be entitled until 2013. And "seen from this perspective, I can hardly imagine another wait for fair conditions," Fuksa said.
Towards fair payments
The Czech minister acknowledges that a single payment scheme that would apply throughout the EU is "hardly negotiable" because the Commission rejects it, despite many countries leaning towards such a system.
Therefore, Prague will push "for setting up a basic rate that will reflect the size of cultivated land and serve as a [method of] compensation for sustainable farming," Fuksa said.
There would also be additional aid based on specific farming conditions, economic relations in individual countries, the amount of public services provided and other supplementary requirements on production, he added.
As for the main criteria for the size of payments, the Czech Republic is currently assessing the options. But it already notes that "there should be no social criteria" for such payments.
While Prague is currently a net receiver of EU money, it has pledged to support a gradual reduction of the CAP budget.
Fuksa said he could support a strengthening of EU rural development policy but stressed that this "should have a fair impact on all the member states and must not lead to significant and uneven co-funding from national public budgets".
Due consideration must also be given to new EU members' higher investment needs, he added.
Need for 'real' safety net
On another note, while Fuksa acknowledges the importance of market measures in helping stabilise markets in case demand or prices fall, he stresses that a safety net "should not be here to protect sales volumes of agricultural products, as was often the case in the past".
Instead, the EU needs "a real safety mechanism for times of crises" – a system that can get along without export subsidies and is sufficiently effective, Fuksa said.
There is also some room for modernising existing measures, he said, noting that certain instruments in place in other countries around the world are missing from the EU's set of market instruments. These include coverage of non-insurable farming risks or compensation payments in case of a significant slump in farmers' earnings.