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Monday, 24 October 2011

Agriculture ministers discuss the CAP reform package

The 3120th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 20 October 2011 was briefed and held an exchange of views on the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package. As regards direct payments, several member states raised concerns. While some delegations agree with the introduction of "greening" measures in the first pillar, several member states questioned the compulsory nature of certain agricultural practices or the percentage of the national envelope devoted to this "greening". In addition, some delegations reiterated their opposition to the capping of the basic payment scheme. The notion of "active farmer" also raised many questions. Actions proposed in favour of small farms and young farmers were generally well received. Concerning direct payments and rural development, a vast majority of delegations raised concerns that the measures proposed seemed to go against the simplification of the CAP which considered as a major objective of this reform.

On the market management mechanisms, most of the member states acknowledged the measures proposed by the Commission. They noted in particular the interest of having a safeguard clause introduced for all sectors allowing for the introduction of emergency measures. Some member states regretted the end of the sugar quota system for 2015 while other praised the liberalisation of the sector which will follow the end of this system. Several delegations are in favour of rules related to the recognition of producers’ organisation and interbranch organisations. Some other member states considered the risk to have a bias in competition. The Polish Presidency will organise two more policy debates on direct payments and rural development respectively in November and December 2011.

Source: Council of Ministers