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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 250]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 250]
Send date: 2010-11-29 17:22:00
Issue #: 66
Content:
Bulletin CTA
1

This weblog shares information on key ACP-EU programmes and events
from Brussels relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries.


Date : [DATE]
CTA Brussels Newsletter

Main events in the week
  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 29/11 to 03/12/2010
  2. EC proposes the creation of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps
  3. Poverty: main challenge for EU-Africa relations
  4. 3rd Africa-EU Summit
  5. Shrimp farming feels viral impact
  6. EU scientists prove robots can learn to 'think'
  7. Kenya picked for new EU food safety training
  8. Poland calls for overhaul of EU agricultural funding
  9. Commission allocates additional €20 million to tackle situation in the Sahel
  10. MEPs scrutinise work done by ACP-EU assembly in 2009
  11. UK to launch African low-carbon energy fund
  12. Young African scientists must be able to contribute to development
  13. In Sierra Leone, Stakeholders engaged on sustainable forest management
  14. 15th Africa-EU Ministerial Meeting
  15. ACP Group opposes to the approval of the draft guidelines on FCTC
  16. New customs rules allow developing countries more benefits with the EU
  17. Food safety: Commission seeks ways to improve BTSF
  18. Commission outlines blueprint for forward-looking Common Agricultural Policy
  19. The EU family of 27 countries - but how many more will join?
  20. How to make EU agriculture competitive and sustainable?
  21. Future CAP: Agriculture Committee's first thoughts on Commission plans


  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 29/11 to 03/12/2010
    2010-11-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    European Parliament (Brussels):
    -30th November - 1st December: Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
    -1th - 2th December: Committee on International Trade
    EU Presidency (Brussels):
    -29th - 30th November: Africa-EU Summit
    -29th - 30th November: Agriculture and Fisheries Council
    - 3rd December: Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council
    ACP Secretariat (Kinshasa):
    -2 - 4 December: 20th Session the Joint ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly


    For more information please consult the calendar on our webpage http://brussels.cta.int  




  2. EC proposes the creation of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps
    2010-11-26

    The European Commission adopted a Communication to set up the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, as foreseen by the Treaty of Lisbon. This policy paper examines volunteering in Europe, lays out the needs of such volunteering Corps, and details the conditions for the Corps to make a positive contribution to Europe’s humanitarian operations. "The Corps will enable Europeans to express their commitment to our solidarity, and to work together as citizens of the EU. By helping people affected by disasters, we have the opportunity to contribute to a more cohesive European society." stated Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. The European Voluntary Corps will add value to existing voluntary schemes through selection, training and deployment of volunteers. It will have strong synergies with existing voluntary organisations and structures. In order to avoid duplication and funding diversion, the Corps will be demand-driven and needs-based, and will support local capacities. The Commission has already started consultations with stakeholders. An open consultation will formally be launched by the end of the year. The Commission will continue to analyse the opportunities and the possible forms of cooperation with relevant actors. It will also carry out an impact assessment of the cost-effectiveness and social impact of the areas in which the Corps can act.

    Source: European Commission




  3. Poverty: main challenge for EU-Africa relations
    2010-11-25

    A special Eurobarometer on EU-Africa relations published ahead of the EU-Africa Summit in Libya on 29/30 November shows that European citizens broadly agree with the focus of cooperation between the two partners. For Europeans, the main challenges for cooperation are to tackle poverty (38%), peace and security (34%), and human rights (33%). This focus is consistent with the primary EU development policy goal of eradicating poverty, as laid out in the Lisbon Treaty and reflected in the Commission's recent Green Paper on “EU Development Policy in Support of Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development”. European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs said: "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and overcoming poverty remain at the heart of Europe's partnership with Africa. I am encouraged to see that this is also a priority for citizens across Europe. Earlier this month, the European Commission has presented proposals on how to consolidate our relationship, by adding strength to it and focusing on inclusive and sustainable growth in the long term. The Summit in Tripoli will be an excellent occasion to discuss ways of how to improve our cooperation in this respect."

    Source: European Commission




  4. 3rd Africa-EU Summit
    2010-11-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Food Security

    On 29-30 November, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, will attend the Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli (Libya). 80 European and African Heads of State and Government will convene under the overarching theme “Investment, Economic Growth and Job Creation” to take cooperation between the two continents to a new, more ambitious level. Through the Africa-EU Partnership established in 2007 the two continents pursue common interests and strategic objectives as equal partners, beyond the focus of traditional development policy. During the Summit, leaders are expected to push for inclusive and sustainable growth as key drivers for development and the fight against poverty. Stronger involvement and strengthening of the private sector is an essential precondition for succeeding in this, as well as a stronger cooperation on Climate change and Peace and security. The President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said ahead of the meeting: "In a context of increasing globalisation and economic and financial crisis, the Union's partnership with Africa is of strategic importance. We will address key issues like peace and security, global governance and regional integration. We will also step up our joint efforts to encourage investment, creating jobs and growth.

    Source: European Commission




  5. Shrimp farming feels viral impact
    2010-11-24

    White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) has a devastating impact on shrimp farming throughout the world, becoming more aggressive as the epidemic spreads, contrary to other viruses like flu that gradually die out. Scientists from Wageningen University in the Netherlands discovered that WSSV evolves when shrimp farming practices are adapted. They hope that greater understanding will allow further control and containment of the disease. The findings were recently published in the journal PLoS ONE.Global shrimp production has tripled over the past decade from 750 000 tonnes in the 1990s to more than 3 billion tonnes in the last 5 years, severely affecting coastal ecosystems and livelihoods. WSSV is a deadly pathogen for shrimp, and has been a major threat to shrimp farming for the last two decades, according to the researchers.The disease is highly lethal and contagious killing shrimps quickly. Outbreaks of WSSV have wiped out within a few days the entire populations of shrimp farms throughout the world. Over time the virus has manifested itself more severely; documented outbreaks in China in 1992 and in Ecuador in 1999 showed a 70% drop in local shrimp production following the outbreaks. The virus has since spread globally and has even been found in wild crustaceans in Europe.In order to discover why WSSV behaves so differently to other viruses, the Wageningen scientists reconstructed the genetic and geographical trajectory of the shrimp virus from the putative ancestral source. They discovered that the fitness of the virus increases over time and the genome shrinks, in a pattern similar to theoretical predictions from evolutionary biology.

    Source: European Union




  6. EU scientists prove robots can learn to 'think'
    2010-11-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    EU-funded scientists have tested a groundbreaking theory that sees robots learning to 'think' about the actions they can perform on an object. The upshot is that robots can teach themselves by learning from their observations and experiences. This latest development is an outcome of the PACO-PLUS ('Perception, action and cognition through learning of object-action complexes') project, funded under the 'Information society technologies' (IST) Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to the tune of EUR 6.9 million.The PACO-PLUS project partners sought to test the so-called 'object-action complexes' (OACs) theory. OACs are units of 'thinking-by-doing' and this approach designs software and hardware that allows a robot to think about objects in terms of the actions that can be performed. For example, if a robot sees an object with a handle, the robot could grasp it. If it has an opening, the robot can potentially fit something into the opening or fill it with liquid. If it has a lid or a door, the robot can potentially open it. Objects therefore gain their significance by the range of possible actions a robot can execute upon them.This opens up a much more interesting way for robots to think autonomously, because it fosters the possibility of emergent behaviour, complex behaviours which arise spontaneously because of quite simple rules, according to the partners.

    Source:  European Union




  7. Kenya picked for new EU food safety training
    2010-11-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, ACP-EU Trade

    Fish, fresh produce and tea firms are set to benefit from a new European Union support meant to safeguard markets by meeting safety rules.The project, whose delegation is in Nairobi, is run by EDES, an EU-funded trade programme that helps developing states to strengthen and adjust regulatory regimes to meet stringent quality demands of European markets.“Kenya was picked as a test country in the region because of its long association and high volume of trade with EU,” Marie Josee, EDES’s head of information and communication, said in Nairobi .EU regulations on food safety have undergone many tests with the latest farm-to-fork traceability demand, putting pressure on developing states to adjust their sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) control systems to match the European standards.To Kenya, EDES programme comes as an assurance of the EU’s continued interest in its produce at a time anxiety is running high over the future of its trade relations with Kenya after the East African Community failed to sign a binding preferential trade pact on schedule.

    Source: Business Daily




  8. Poland calls for overhaul of EU agricultural funding
    2010-11-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    Poland's top farm official has slated the EU's agricultural policy, or CAP, as "two-speed" and common "only in name," calling for a new system with reduced direct payments for farmers and increased money to help restructure the sector. Speaking to journalists, Marek Sawicki from Poland's conservative Peasant Party also threw his support behind one option outlined in next week's European Commission proposal on CAP reform, and slammed the contents of a recent Franco-German position paper as purely "cosmetic." Warsaw was angered last month when Berlin and Paris published a bilateral proposal on CAP reform, despite earlier plans to make it a three-way document. The large eastern European country also said that the proposal failed to correct current imbalances.Direct payments for farmers in newer member states are strongly linked to farm size, while those in the EU15 countries receive funds calculated using a complicated system that takes into account historic stock or crop levels.This has resulted in huge variations in direct payment sizes, with per-hectare payments for Polish farmers amounting to roughly €150, compared with while €300 for French farmers.

     

    Source: Euobserver




  9. Commission allocates additional €20 million to tackle situation in the Sahel
    2010-11-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Aid effectiveness

    On November 22  the European Commission amended a previous Financial Decision in order to double its financial commitment in the Sahel Region from €20 to €40 million. The funding will provide humanitarian and food assistance for the most vulnerable sections of the population, bringing total financial aid for the Sahel in 2010 to €74 million. The potential food crisis in the Sahel region was identified by humanitarian aid experts from the European Commission as early as September 2009. Since then, the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the European Commission (ECHO) has been working closely with its humanitarian partners by allocating funds and ensuring that food is made available to those who need it the most and that malnourishment is monitored, prevented and treated.Meanwhile, the situation has steadily degenerated due to a variety of factors including bad harvests in 2009 resulting in less food being available in the markets, rising food prices, and erratic rainfall. In addition, endemic diseases, such as measles, malaria, cholera and meningitis, are spreading in several countries, thus creating additional humanitarian challenges.

    Source: European Union




  10. MEPs scrutinise work done by ACP-EU assembly in 2009
    2010-11-23

    MEPs want the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly to monitor closely the ongoing negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements between EU and ACP countries, which are intended to open up markets on both sides. This is just one of the recommendations in Tuesday's European Parliament resolution on the work done by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in 2009. The upcoming EU-Africa summit to be held in Libya on 29 and 30 November is another topic mentioned in the resolution, which deplores the fact that "the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) was not properly consulted during the drafting of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy and hopes that the Assembly will be actively involved in the implementation of the strategy."Turning to the impact of the financial crisis on the ACP countries, MEPs argue that the JPA should explore additional, innovative sources of development funding, such as an international financial transaction tax.The resolution also recalls Parliament's longstanding demand for the European Development Fund (EDF) to be incorporated into the EU budget "to increase the consistency, transparency and effectiveness of development cooperation policy and guarantee democratic scrutiny thereof."The EDF is funded by Member States and has its own financial rules.  The tenth 5-year period of the EDF covers 2008-2013. It has an overall budget of €22,682 million, of which €21,966 million is for the ACP countries.The Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) is the parliamentary forum for open, democratic and in-depth dialogue between the European Union and the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Today's resolution is the EP's annual review of the assembly's work.The 20th Session of the JPA will be held in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) from 2 to 4 December 2010.

    Source: The European Parliament




  11. UK to launch African low-carbon energy fund
    2010-11-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The UK government will launch two new public-private partnership funds to promote generation of renewable energy in Africa and Asia next year, the secretary of state for international development said last week.The funds will target low-carbon energy and related investments in Asia and large-scale renewable energy projects in Africa."We hope to launch these partnerships next year," Andrew Mitchell said at a briefing in London.A spokesman for the UK's department for international development said it was looking at ways the funds could be financed and could not put a value on them yet or identify the potential private sector partners.Early modelling of the Asian fund suggests that it could bring 9 pounds of private sector investment for every pound committed by the government.Over the next 25 years, the project could generate up to 5 gigawatts of renewable energy and avoid 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.The African fund could generate up to 500 megawatts of new renewable energy per year from 2015, providing enough electricity for over four million households.The government will also launch a new advocacy fund to help the poorest nations get heard in international climate change and trade negotiations."This fund will provide access to legal, technical and logistical support to the poorest and most vulnerable countries (...) whose full participation is essential if we are to achieve an equitable deal," Mitchell said, referring to a global agreement on climate change.In its spending review in October, Britain said it would provide 2.9 billion pounds of international climate finance to 2015. This will partly fund a 1.5 billion pound pledge of fast-start finance from 2010 to 2012.


    Source: Africagoodnews.com




  12. Young African scientists must be able to contribute to development
    2010-11-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    Support for young African scientists is critical if they are to apply their knowledge to the socio-economic challenges of the African continent, says Christopher Chetsanga. Young African scientists need to apply their knowledge to make a difference to the socio-economic challenges of the African continent. But Zimbabwe and most other African countries lack the regulatory environments that would provide the conditions and necessary investments for young scientists to be effectively involved in science and technology for development.  The level of domestic science and technology (S&T) capability determines the success or failure of a given country to benefit from technology transfer. Domestic technological capacity coupled with abundant natural resources is the prescription for automatic global economic domination. It is those who generate new knowledge, who can patent it and convert it to wealth that will make a difference in a community. Such S&T capabilities will enable a nation to overcome technology barriers. That way young scientists can learn to swim with the technology current rather than watching from the shoreline. But our universities are in danger of functioning as diploma factories rather than knowledge repositories. One hopes to see young African scientists increasingly becoming globally involved in international collaborative research and intellectual partnerships. Some young African scientists have benefitted from collaborations with scientists in European Union (EU) laboratories under programmes in which African scientists can submit a joint grant proposal with EU scientists to undertake collaborative research.  A good example is the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), who put out a call for 2010 collaborative research proposals on infectious diseases jointly submitted by teams of African and German scientists. The DFG is also offering funding to enable African MSc and PhD students to do part of their research training in Germany.

    Source: SciDev.net




  13. In Sierra Leone, Stakeholders engaged on sustainable forest management
    2010-11-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    The Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security on Friday 19th November, 2010 engaged stakeholders in sustainable forest management on the implementation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States and Forest Law Enforcement, and Governance and Trade (FLEGT) respectively at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Youyi Building in Freetown.The objective of the meeting was to allow stakeholders discuss the implementation of the ACP and FLEGT support programme in Sierra Leone which is soon to be hosted by the ministry through the Forestry Division.Addressing the audience, the Programme Coordinator in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Mr. Hassan R. S. Mohamed said the ACP-FLEGT support programme is geared towards supporting a project titled, “Building Capacity for a Verification System to Support Sustainable Forestry in Sierra Leone.” He said it consists of putting in place an efficient and cost - effective system for demonstrating the legal origins of timber and subsequently, legal compliance of forest management in the country.  The programme, Mr. Mohamed went on, is a collaborative effort of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the European and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States to address forest law enforcement, governance and trade issues in member countries.  According to him, the project has four main objectives aimed at arriving at an agreed definition of what is considered as legally-produced timber based on the forest laws of Sierra Leone.

    Source: Awareness Time




  14. 15th Africa-EU Ministerial Meeting
    2010-11-23

    Within the framework of the Africa-EU Dialogue, the 15th Ministerial Meeting took place in Lilongwe, Malawi, on 19 November 2010. Ministers exchanged views on the preparations for the 3rd Africa-EU Summit scheduled for 29-30 November, 2010 in Tripoli, Libya and welcomed the efforts exerted by all stakeholders to ensure a successful summit. Ministers welcomed and endorsed the draft documents to be adopted at the next Africa-EU Summit, notably the Tripoli Declaration and the second Action Plan 2011-13 and noted the Joint Declaration on Climate Change. Ministers underscored the need to ensure the effective implementation of the Action Plan once adopted by the Africa-EU Summit in Tripoli. They recalled the principles underlying the Joint Strategy and reiterated the need to deliver concrete positive results for the peoples of Africa, European Union and beyond. Ministers stressed the need to strengthen engagement in political dialogue at the appropriate level with a view to finding solutions to common concerns on EPAs. In this regard, Ministers viewed the third Africa-EU Summit as a good opportunity for such dialogue. Discussions should focus on the necessity to reiterate the respective commitments to conclude EPAs in a mutually satisfactory way. Ministers reaffirmed the principles of the December 2008 Africa-EU Declaration on Climate Change and the Africa-EU Declaration to be endorsed by the next Africa-EU Summit which commits Africa and the EU to enhance dialogue and cooperation and exchange on concrete actions in climate change issues.
    Source: Council of the EU




  15. ACP Group opposes to the approval of the draft guidelines on FCTC
    2010-11-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    ACP Group opposes to the approval of the draft guidelines on Framework Convention on Tobacco Convention.During the 92nd Session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Council of Ministers held in Brussels from 8-10 November 2010, the ACP Group has re-affirmed its support for the finalisation of guidelines in respect of Articles 9 and 10 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Convention (FCTC), but only if it is done on the basis of evidence based on approaches rooted in sound science.The vast majority of the ACP States, 74 of the 79 of which are signatories to the FCTC, endorsed its broad objectives.In a resolution issued after the Council, the ACP Group recognised that the Canada Act, 2009, “Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act”, which serves as a model for the guidelines, is far more restrictive than necessary to achieve the declared objective and has been challenged at the WTO by several developing countries and that the draft guidelines on Article 9 and 10 incorporate issues identical to those which lie at core of the challenge.

    Source: ACP Group




  16. New customs rules allow developing countries more benefits with the EU
    2010-11-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Commission adopted a regulation revising rules of origin for products imported under the generalised system of preferences (GSP). This regulation relaxes and simplifies rules and procedures for developing countries wishing to access the EU's preferential trade arrangements, while ensuring the necessary controls are in place to prevent fraud.  The Regulation adopted by the Commission will considerably simplify the rules of origin so that they are easier for developing countries to understand and to comply with. The new rules take into account the specificities of different sectors of production and particular processing requirements, amongst other things. In addition, special provisions are included for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) which would allow them to claim origin for many more goods which are processed in their territories, even if the primary materials do not originate there. For instance, an operator in Zambia that produces and exports plastics to the EU will benefit from the new rules of origin, because even with up to 70% of foreign input the exported plastics can still be considered as originating from Zambia. These new rules should greatly benefit the industries and economies of the world's poorest countries. The proposal also puts forward a new procedure for demonstrating proof of origin, which places more responsibility on the operators. From 2017, the current system of certification of origin carried out by the third country authorities will be replaced by statements of origin made out directly by exporters registered via an electronic system. This will allow the authorities of the exporting country to re-focus their resources on better controls against fraud and abuse, while reducing red-tape for businesses.


    Source: European Union




  17. Food safety: Commission seeks ways to improve BTSF
    2010-11-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    Since 2006, the EU has trained 23,000 professionals worldwide to improve food safety through its Better Training for Safer Food initiative (BTSF). Now, the European Commission is seeking to further improve this initiative. It is launching a dialogue with all key stakeholders, including the African Union, starting today at a two-day high-level conference in Brussels. A working document recently adopted by the Commission on the BTSF programme serves as the basis for discussions. It identifies the challenges BTSF is facing and a series of possible actions to overcome them – including, for example, a study to accurately estimate training demand. The Conference will analyse the working document's proposals, both in terms of BTSF's core training activities within the EU and third countries and in light of actions taken in Africa on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues within the Better Training for Safer Food in Africa programme (BTSF Africa).

    Source: European Union




  18. Commission outlines blueprint for forward-looking Common Agricultural Policy
    2010-11-22

    The European Commission has published a Communication on "the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) towards 2020 – Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future". The reform aims at making the European agriculture sector more dynamic, competitive, and effective in responding to the Europe 2020 vision of stimulating sustainable growth, smart growth and inclusive growth. The paper outlines three options for further reform. Following discussion of these ideas, the Commission will present formal legislative proposals in mid-2011Outlining the Communication today, EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Cioloş underlined the importance of making the CAP “greener, fairer, more efficient and more effective”. He continued: “The CAP is not just for farmers, it is for all EU citizens – as consumers and taxpayers. It is therefore important that we design our policy in a way which is more understandable to the general public and which makes clear the public benefits that farmers provide to society as a whole. European agriculture needs to be not only economically competitive, but also environmentally competitive.” Earlier in the year, the Commission held a public debate and a major conference on the future of the CAP. The vast majority of contributions identified 3 principal objectives from the CAP: Viable food production;Sustainable management of natural resources and climate action;maintaining the territorial balance and diversity of rural areas.

    Source: European Uniion




  19. The EU family of 27 countries - but how many more will join?
    2010-11-22

    Which country will join the EU next? Of the nine EU hopefuls, Croatia is likely to become the 28th member - accession negotiations may be concluded in the first half of 2011, Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle told the Foreign Affairs Committee on 9 Nov after the Commission released its enlargement report. Currently four countries have been accepted as candidates - the latest being Iceland, which opened negotiations this year - the others are potential candidates.Croatia is expected to be the first to join the EU since the accession of Romania and Bulgaria in 2007. Füle told MEPs the current "theoretically possible date" for completing negotiations is the first half of 2011. After the successful conclusion of negotiations, the ratification process will start. This can be completed in one, possibly two years. “But the final leap is sometimes the most difficult,” the Commissioner added.

     

    Source: The European Parliament




  20. How to make EU agriculture competitive and sustainable?
    2010-11-22

    The common agricultural policy of the EU has to better respond to the expectations of the society, if it is not to lose its credibility, European Farm Commissioner Dacian Cioloş warned when presenting his proposals on CAP reform to MEPs 18 November. Members of Parliament's agriculture committee broadly supported the plan to strengthen competitiveness, while focusing on sustainability. Having to choose between competitiveness and sustainability is a false dilemma, Mr Cioloş said, explaining that the objective of the reform is to broaden the CAP and allow it to better focus not just on food production but also on management of natural resources. "Healthy, quality food, sustainable development, fairness for farmers big and small - this is what society expects. We have public financial support for CAP, now we have to justify it."

    Source: The European Parliament




  21. Future CAP: Agriculture Committee's first thoughts on Commission plans
    2010-11-22

    European Commission plans to make EU farm policy fairer to farmers, and at the same time more responsive to public concerns, were welcomed by Agriculture Committee MEPs on November 18. However, MEPs also voiced concerns about how the plans could affect farmers, and the difficulty of putting them into practice. The need to "re-legitimise" the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP) in the eyes of public opinion, by "opening the policy to the concerns of our society" was stressed by Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos as he presented the Commission's "CAP towards 2020" communication to Agriculture Committee MEPs on Thursday. Committee chair Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT), assured Mr Ciolos of the committee's support, but also stressed that the Parliament is fully aware of its new legislative powers under the Lisbon Treaty.Taking up Parliament's July 2010 proposals to make direct payments fairer for farmers and Member States, the communication proposes a basic income support to provide a uniform level of aid, additional help for areas with natural constraints, and an (optional) national ceiling for payments received by large farms. The Commission also proposes to include a mandatory "greening" element in the direct payments system. While sharing the Commission's wish to retain the CAP's current two-pillar structure (direct payments and rural development), Parliament's rapporteur Albert Dess (EPP, DE), said "we must focus on the needs of our farming community" and "make sure money go to investment and not to bureaucracy".James Nicholson (ECR, UK), also urged the Commissioner to "address farmers' concerns, instead of creating red tape", particularly as regards proposed new environmental requirements, and stressed that the CAP is "a policy for farmers, to provide food supply, and not a social or environmental policy".Commissioner Ciolos replied that the future CAP will simplify, but make full use of, existing tools to enhance environmental sustainability.

    Source: The European Parliament

     





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