The EESC supports a strong, well-funded CAP and an increase of the EU budget to 1.3% of GNI in line with the growth of the EU economy. Adequate CAP funding must be provided to address the low incomes of farmers and agricultural workers, inflation and any Brexit shortfall, as well as additional environmental and climate change requirements.
"European farmers – family farms, SMEs, cooperatives and other traditional farming systems – must be able to live from their farming income. This must be guaranteed by fair prices and strong direct payments. Direct payments, however, should only go to active farmers and agricultural enterprises which are involved in agricultural production according to objective criteria and regional practices and which deliver public goods. It's not enough to just be the owner of agricultural land," says Jarmila Dubravská, rapporteur of the EESC opinion The future of food and farming. "For EU farmers it is critically important that the legislative proposals involve real simplification of the most bureaucratic elements of the CAP," adds John Bryan.
Subsidiarity must not undermine the CAP or the single market. It should only apply to Member States' plans to implement the CAP objectives, thus giving them some flexibility to adopt the first and second pillar payment options that best suit the farming types, structures and conditions in the respective country, taking its natural conditions and environment into account. The EESC does not favour Member States transferring funds from Pillar II to Pillar I. Rather, it calls for a reasonable level of co-financing of the second pillar for all Member States.
The EESC also proposes that CAP support for young farmers and generational renewal be improved. Finally, the EU needs to pursue a more coherent strategy between the CAP and trade policy. (sma)