Thursday, 20 October 2011

New CAP proposals exclude development obligations

The European Commission presented a draft proposal for a new Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) on 10 October for the period after 2013. The main aims of the draft are “to strengthen the competitiveness, sustainability and permanence of agriculture throughout the EU”, reads an official EU press release. Ten key points are stressed in this respect, including better targeting of income support, developing crisis management tools, greening agricultural production, stimulating rural employment and channelling additional funding towards research and innovation.

However, the Commission proposal does not mention Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). “Until now in the debates on the reform process, all EU institutions have made reference to take into account the principle that the CAP must seek to reduce its overseas impact through greater Policy Coherence for Development. Yet the Commission has not translated this into concrete measures in its proposals”, comments Oliver Consolo, Director of the Concord network.

Moreover, in a public hearing of the EP Development Committee (DEVE) taking place before the publication of the proposal, Agriculture Commissioner Dacian CioloĊŸ maintained that food security is a global concern that needs to be taken into account in all policies. However, “the widespread support from the European Parliament (EP) to include global responsibility for food security in the CAP reform to improve the policies’ impact on developing countries and the world’s poor has been ignored”, reads the Concord press release.

Calling on the EP and the Council to design a CAP mechanism that complies with the Lisbon Treaty provision of PCD, the European Development NGOs outlined a series of recommendations for this purpose, mainly for the creation of grievance and monitoring mechanisms. Farmer organisation in developing countries should be granted a space to be heard and even an EU Ombudsman for PCD should be instituted. In addition, a CAP Impact Monitoring System should “include an indicator specific to the objectives of monitoring the consistency between the CAP and its development and trade policies”, proposes Concord. In addition, unfair trading practices such as export subsidies should be phased out, yet the new reform proposal mentions no commitment to completely stop this practice.

The present draft opens the ordinary legislative proposal in which the three institutions — Commission, Council and European Parliament — will decide on the future of the European Common Agricultural Policy after 2013.

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