CEPS urges agriculture and budget reform before enlargement

Centre for European Policy Studies advocates an urgent reform of EU policies before enlargement.

“Good Bye, Agenda 2000 – Hello, Agenda 2003” is a new study by the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) dealing with the effects of the Berlin Summit on own resources, expenditures and EU net balances, as well as the financing of enlargement.

Its authors Jorge NýFerrer and Michael Emerson advocate another urgent reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and funding of other EU policies before eastward enlargement. Emerson warns that the Helsinki enlargement strategy makes commitments to the candidate countries, but policies to implement them are not yet in place. Reform of EU institutions and policies has been inadequate so far, argues Emerson.

Jorge Nýconsiders that the main aim of the Agenda 2000, i.e. to prepare the Union for enlargement, was not achieved. The fifteen member states concentrated on their internal budgetary and agricultural problems, ignoring the enlargement issues. The outcome was a reduction of the depth and speed of reforms resulting in an insufficiently reformed agricultural policy, unfit and disproportionately distorted for the new member states.

Jorge Nýconcluded that the EU should reopen Agenda 2000 and introduce strong reforms in agriculture and a simplification of the own resources system to avoid increasing the present problems to crisis proportions . before an enlargement takes place.

James Spence, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Budget Commissioner, considered the criticisms on the lack of foresight of the Berlin European Council conclusions on the enlargement budget and agriculture unfounded. He does not foresee a reopening of Agenda 2000, but the necessary adaptations and reforms coming through when needed.