Ahead of a meeting of EU agriculture ministers to discuss the future of the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), EPP-ED group chairman Joseph Daul outlined the stakes and fresh challenges facing the EU in an interview with EURACTIV France.
According to Daul, “no big decision would be taken” at the three-day meeting, which started on 21 September in Annecy, France.
“Real reform” would only take place after the 2009 elections to the European Parliament, when the debate on the next EU financial perspectives would be launched, said Daul.
The French Presidency wants member states to agree on four main objectives for the post-2013 CAP:
- Ensuring the Union’s food security.
- Contributing to the global food balance.
- Preserving the balance of rural space.
- Contributing to efforts to fight climate change.
He further believes the EU will have to offer a helping hand to farmers, especially as many have been directly affected by the financial turmoil.
“Interests will increase and will weigh down on farmers that want to invest. There will be a direct impact on the economy,” says Daul, calling for the CAP to be completely “rethought” following the global food crisis, which put food security back at the centre of EU concerns.
As regards climate change, Daul said agriculture had already made the necessary reforms, describing the environmental safeguards put in place as “effective”. The onus now lies on industry, he added.
Asked if he thought that an agreement on the CAP ‘health check’ would be found despite strong and diverging positions from several countries, Daul claimed that governments’ opinions differed on technical terms rather than on substance.
He expects that an agreement will be reached among ministers in November and committed to working towards an agreement in Parliament by the end of the year.