A new study on Environmental Integration and the CAP, published by the Institute for European Environmental Policy in London, recommends a significant increase of the rural development funding.
The study recommend that "agri-environment should become a central plank of the common agricultural policy (CAP) rather than an accompanying measure". It recommends that a primary requirement would be to significantly enlarge the budget for rural development, and that further progress towards de-coupling farm subsidies from production would be appropriate in environmental terms. The study underlines the importance of CAP reform and strongly supports the direction pursued in the Commission's mid-term review proposals.
Some of the main conclusions of the study:
- compulsory modulation or degressivity of direct payments to enable an expansion of agri-environmental and other environmental measures;
- a reform of the sugar regime, involving significant price cuts;
- removal or significant reform of aid for tobacco and dried fodder to eliminate their adverse environmental impacts;
- the introduction of EU-level requirement for farm environmental auditing for those receiving direct payments;
- review of the environmental impacts of the wine and fruit and vegetable regimes;
- detailed study of the environmental implications of removing milk quotas;
- more substantial budgetary shifts from market support measures to rural development;
- further price cuts;
- dismantling of quotas;
- harmonisation of direct area-based aids in livestock sectors;
- development of a more clearly environmentally benign form of income support to farms.