On 20 February, the EESC hosted Commissioner Hogan to talk about the future CAP.Phil Hogan stressed that it was important for the CAP to evolve; aside from food supply, the CAP should also provide other public goods, in exchange for its special position within the EU budget.
As regards the budget, the Commissioner said that "Member States, working in co-decision with the European Parliament, have full freedom to increase their overall budget with a view to keeping the CAP at its current level." He hoped for a swift agreement on the multiannual financial framework (MFF), since farmers needed certainty and stability regarding policy and the budget.
The Commissioner also mentioned the political agreement on a new rule to ban certain unfair trading practices in the food supply chain, to which the EESC made a substantial contribution through its opinion and on which a vote will be held at the European Parliament plenary in March.
During the debate with the Commissioner, EESC member John Bryan said that the EESC supported a strong CAP with a strong budget, as the CAP was important for peace and cohesion.
Maurizio Reale, president of the EESC's NAT section, pointed out that a future CAP must focus more on climate change and that farmers needed to be better protected in free trade agreements.
Peter Schmidt, president of the EESC's Sustainable Development Observatory, stressed that unfair practices in the food chain needed to be addressed more effectively and that the Sustainable Development Goals should be included in our food policy. The same high standards demanded of our producers must be applied to food imports. (sma)