Parliament still hopeful for CAP deal during Portugal’s EU presidency

The European Parliament still hopes to reach an agreement on the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform during Portugal’s presidency of the Council of the EU, according to the chair of the assembly’s agriculture committee.

In a debate in the European Parliament’s agriculture committee on the state of play of CAP negotiations on Tuesday (15 June), MEP Norbert Lins announced that “next week there will be new super trilogues” to try to reach a final agreement during Portugal’s presidency that can be approved by ministers on 28 June.

Trilogues refer to meetings between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, mediated by the European Commission.

“This is what is on the table,” Lins summarised. He said that in Lisbon, where an informal council of EU agriculture ministers was held on Tuesday, in which Lins was participating, “there seems to be a will to close the deal.”

Daniel Buda, a Romanian MEP to whom Lins had passed the chairmanship of the committee meeting in Brussels, concluded after a debate that members must respect the mandate for which they were elected. The Brussels meeting took place in a hybrid format – with some members present and others participating by videoconference

Buda called on the Commission to be more engaged in the process and stressed that the Council had to overcome its internal divisions.

“In the period ahead, we must reach an agreement,” he said.

CAP talks crash on the 'floor' amid interinstitutional blame game

After four days of tense talks, a disagreement between EU lawmakers on a technical detail concerning the greening of direct payments to farmers paved the way for a breakdown in the interinstitutional negotiations on the reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The CAP 2021-2027 is composed of three regulations: strategic plans; horizontal governance – the financing, management and monitoring of the CAP; and the organisation of the common market for agricultural products.

The main differences between the Parliament and the Commission are on the issue of strategic plans, although Peter Jahr, the rapporteur responsible for this regulation, has said that “ninety percent of the points are closed”.

During the debate in committee, several speakers challenged the negotiation method adopted by Portugal’s presidency in May, which sought to close a deal by splitting negotiations into two fronts, the super trilogues – with the three regulations under discussion – and the meeting of the council of ministers, taking place simultaneously.

These critics argued that such a proceeding is only effective when the positions are already practically settled.

After the failed attempt to close the CAP negotiations in May, Portugal’s Agriculture Minister Maria do Céu Antunes now has one last chance to meet the goal she set for her country’s presidency and conclude an agreement on 28 June, at the last council meeting she chairs, two days before the end of Portugal’s stint.

The new CAP should come into force on 1 January 2023 after member states have had their strategic plans approved by the European Commission.

[Edited by Natasha Foote]

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