Copa and Cogeca have discussed the Maltese Presidency’s work programme and outlined key ways to ensure a sustainable EU agriculture sector in the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The move came as the work programme was being debated by EU Farm Ministers and in the run up to the EU Commissions public consultation on the future CAP due out on February 2.
Speaking to the Maltese Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Roderick Galdes, Copa Vice President Henri Brichart said “At Copa and Cogeca, we have already started reflecting on the future CAP, one that can effectively respond to the challenges that farmers are grappling with. What farmers really need is a simple policy which enables them to produce safe, nutritious, high quality food for consumers in the EU and in non-EU countries in a sustainable manner”.
“We need a stronger and more stable CAP in the future that is sustainable with common rules for all to ensure a level playing field. It needs to be underpinned by a robust budget. This is important given that the CAP accounts for less than 1% of total EU public spending, which is good value for money considering everything it delivers”, he insisted.
Outlining key measures, he said “We need to keep current CAP measures – direct payments to farmers, market safety nets and risk insurance – to cope with the extreme market volatility on agricultural markets as they have worked quite well. But we need to be able to activate these measures more swiftly. The past few years have also shown that more is needed, including more tools to help farmers manage risk and the development of futures markets. Risk management tools must be further developed in the future CAP to deal with not only climatic risks but also market risks”.
Mr Brichart also supported the EU Commissions’ current efforts to simplify CAP rules. We have seen some improvements to the recent proposals on the simplification of the greening measures, but we have some major difficulties in some areas. In particular, it is a problem that the Commission proposed banning the use of pesticides for protein crops in Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) as this does not amount to simplification. He also urged the Maltese Presidency to carry on the good work done by the Slovak Presidency vis a vis the EU organic farming review.
Reacting to this, Mr Galdes agreed with Copa & Cogeca on the need for a strong CAP, saying it is the right time to shape the direction of the future CAP. We need the right tools in place especially when it comes to risk management, he said. The topic will be up for debate at EU Farm Ministers meeting in March. He also aims to find a feasible solution to the organics file and the Presidency is working on a compromise text.