Reacting to the launch of the EU Commissions’ public consultation on the modernization and simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Copa and Cogeca underlined the need for a strong, common and sustainable CAP to cope with current and future challenges and will actively participate in the consultation.
Speaking in Brussels, Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “I welcome the launch of this public consultation which will enable us to get European farmers and agri-cooperatives voice heard and help to shape the future of the CAP”.
“We believe that the CAP which has so far worked quite well is very good value for money. It costs less than 1% of total EU public spending, and in return provides sustainable food supplies for 500 million consumers, at the same time as ensuring growth and jobs in rural areas, biodiversity and countless environmental benefits”, he stressed.
“But we are still getting to grips with the last CAP reform which has only been in place for two years and therefore favour an “evolution” of the CAP and not a “revolution”. We cannot keep changing it every couple of years if we want farmers to be both economically and environmentally sustainable. For us, a key element of the future CAP is simplification of current rules as many farmers find that the worst thing about being a farmer is too much red tape and form filling. This is particularly important in the case of simplification of greening measures. Up against increasingly volatile markets, we also want to put more focus on measures to help farmers better manage risks and develop futures markets. It’s also important to further encourage the development of cooperatives which help farmers to join together and market their produce. General renewal is another key aspect as we need to get new blood into the sector and make it easier to enter the industry with more targeted measures to help younger farmers set up”, he said.
“We believe it’s important to keep the current structure of the CAP with both the first and second pillars. The second pillar focuses on rural development and it’s important to have a strong EU rural development Policy to ensure farmers have a decent way of life also for their families in terms of education, childcare, access to broadband. Access to broadband is particularly important if farmers are to use new technologies like precision farming and become more efficient producing more with less. We will discuss this further with farm leaders from across the EU at a high-level meeting on February 9. We look forward to working with the Commission, MEPs and the Maltese Presidency on this to ensure that we have a sustainable CAP also in the future which is more capable of responding to the severe crisis which we have just seen”, he concluded.
The public consultation will run until May 2 and includes 33 questions for stakeholders. It will be followed by a Communication in Autumn.