The European Parliament adopted a resolution on 7 November, supporting the main principles of the Commission's proposal for the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).


The MEPs adopted a resolution, tabled by the Agriculture
Committee Chairman Joseph Daul (EPP-ED, France), by 315 votes in
favour, 106 against and 62 abstentions. The resolution states the
reformed CAP in the enlarged EU must protect the "European
Agricultural Model". This entails ensuring a fair income for
farmers, keeping jobs on the land, protecting consumers and
promoting health, animal welfare and environmental protection.



The Parliament supports the principle of
decoupling direct farm subsidies from production, but it wants the
link to be broken partially rather than totally as the Commission
proposed in July.

The resolution welcomes the promotion of rural
development, by shifting resources from market support to rural
development schemes ahead of enlargement. It insists however that
the differences between regions must be taken into account, and
small farms and traditional, quality production must be
supported.

The Parliament supported the Commission's
proposal for compulsory modulation by 466 votes to 30. Compulsory
modulation would oblige Member States to reduce direct aid under
certain conditions in order to shift cash from production to
measures such as environmental provisions and early retirement
schemes. The Parliament accepts capping of aid, but with
reservations, and would like to see it introduced gradually.

But the Parliament argues that the Commission's
proposals cannot be implemented under current budgetary
arrangements, given that the number of prospective new Member
States has risen since the 1999 Berlin budget agreement
(2000-2006).

The MEPs voted by 454 votes to 42 against
systematic payment of national farm aid, and called for more
support for the candidate countries before and after they join the
EU.

Parliament insists that market regulation must
continue. Farm-gate prices must not fall and there must be no cuts
to intervention prices at present. Farmers' markets must be
protected from outside competition if intervention schemes are
converted into mere safety nets. The same health and safety
standards must be applied to imports as to EU products. The
Parliament insists that the Commission's WTO negotiating mandate
must be reformulated to increase the emphasis on non-trade related
aspects of agriculture.