The agriculture ministers of France and Germany have rejected the European Commission’s proposal to decrease the budget for the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), insisting that it should remain at the current level.
French minister Stéphane Travert and his German counterpart Julia Klöckner signed a joint declaration for the future CAP, which was presented at the EU AGRI Council in Luxembourg on Monday (16 July), claiming that the CAP budget should remain at the current levels.
“I welcome the fact that Germany has joined us in the opposition to the Commission’s proposed budget on the CAP. A common Franco-German language is essential to guarantee the European added value of this major policy of the EU,” Travert said.
Following the Brexit and the emergence of new priorities such as security and immigration, the Commission proposed a 5% cut in CAP funding in the EU’s 2021-2027 budget proposals.
France, the biggest beneficiary of the CAP funds, and other member states such as Spain and Greece, expressed their dissatisfaction with the Commission’s proposal through the “Madrid Declaration”.
A ‘tricky’ power re-balancing
In the meantime, Farm Europe, a think-tank specialised in agricultural issues, conducted a survey which found that the new governance model is “tricky” as it means that in practice more powers are granted to the European Commission.
According to the executive’s proposals, announced last June, a new “delivery model” is adopted, under which member states are given more space to come up with their own national strategies, which in theory, have to comply with the general goals set by the EU.
But for Farm Europe, this is not the case.
“With the paradigm shift proposed, the power to build the CAP and the vision for the future of EU agriculture would move from the co-legislators to the exclusive power of the European Commission to approve, or not, each national or regional strategy based on a first pillar offering 98% financial flexibility and 65% in rural development (30% earmarked for environmental measures and 5% for LEADER),” Farm Europe said.
This approach undermines the political aspect of the policy and gives simultaneously a “blank cheque” to the executive to oversee the policy, the think tank added.
The Commission said the new proposals should modernise and simplify the CAP. But several member states criticised the executive, saying that the proposed measures will make the situation even more complicated.
“Their requirements are particularly high and appear to lead to an increase in bureaucracy and administrative burden for the member states and beneficiaries,” commented yesterday Greek minister of agriculture Evangelos Apostolou.