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Friday, 25 January 2013

MEPs back a less green, more 'flexible' CAP

In two days of voting on more than 7,000 amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2014-2020, the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development backed the extension of protections for sugar producers and grape growers, defying Commission recommendations to extend liberalisation to nearly all agricultural sectors.
The European Parliament’s agriculture committee has also voted to weaken key environmental proposals made by the European Commission while agreeing to reduce subsidies to big farms. The committee’s recommendations - which came during marathon voting sessions on 23 and 24 January - must now be voted on by the full Parliament at its 11-14 March plenary.
The votes focused on the two main financial pillars of the CAP, direct payments to farmers and rural development; new environmental regulations; as well as proposals to phase out price supports for sugar and planting right for wine producers.
The most important amendments registered in the second day of voting follows:
- MEPs supported the EU executive’s plan to devote 2% of the CAP to encourage young people to get into farming. The committee recommended that farmers under age 40 get a 25% bonus on the direct payment in the first five years they farm. But they capped the payment at 50 hectares, replacing the Commission’s plan for a limit based on the average farm size in each member state.
- The Committee backed the extension of protections for sugar producers and grape growers, defying Commission proposals to remove market support and eventually liberalise all agricultural markets. The quota system, dating to 1968, provides farmers a guaranteed minimum price aimed at ensuring stable supplies.


Source: Euractiv