The EESC believes a strong, fully-funded common agricultural policy (CAP) is essential and rejects any cuts to the CAP budget. It welcomes the legislative proposals on the CAP, with the new focus on greater ambition in the area of the environment and climate change, subsidiarity and simplification, but is keen to ensure that the CAP remains a common policy with a strong single market.
No cuts to the CAP budget
The CAP budget should retain its current rate of funding of 38% of the EU budget. This should be increased to 1.3% of gross national income (GNI)." Any reduction in the CAP budget is unacceptable", stresses EESC member John Bryan, "since it would undermine the objectives and ambitions of the CAP. The CAP budget is a major contributor to job and income security in the farming sector, but also to the production of environmental goods which we all benefit from.”
Maintaining the current two-pillar structure of the CAP is important, with Pillar I payments supporting farm incomes and Pillar II for rural development. However, only genuine farmers should receive direct payments.
For a flawless, sustainable, simplified CAP
It is crucial that the CAP 2021-2027 meet the needs of the different entities operating in agriculture, such as family farms, cooperatives, producer groups and other forms of farming and food production. The CAP must also take into account the diversity in Europe's agriculture, culinary variety and market prospects, and provide different ways of promoting quality. With regard to the allocation of 40% of agricultural expenditure to the EU's climate change objective, farmers should be given a range of measures to choose from, geared to their specific circumstances. It is essential to reduce the burden of bureaucracy on farmers, while maintaining proper full checks.(sma)