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This opinion considers the root causes, the negative impact on rural areas and highlights best initiatives to re-energise communities through the RDP and other support measures.
The Commission recently published a Communication on a Renewed Partnership with the ACP Group of countries. ACP-EU relations are currently governed by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement that will expire in 2020, therefore the Commission has published recommendations on what the future structure should be. Last year the EESC already drafted a general opinion on the post-Cotonou framework; this new opinion will have to answer specifically to the Commission's communication.
The European Economic and Social Committee greets the Commission's legislative proposals with interest, and notes that some – although far from all – recommendations made in its past opinions have been taken into account. Most importantly, the Committee has repeatedly stated that the future CAP must be driven by a determination to defend the European agricultural model, which is based on the principles of food sovereignty, sustainability and responsiveness to the real needs of farmers and consumers.
The EESC repeats that the European agricultural model cannot operate at world market prices and conditions and does not come free of charge. Any policy that promotes this agricultural model thus requires sufficient financial resources. However, in the current proposals concerning the Union budget for the 2014-2020 period, the resources earmarked for the CAP would be clearly reduced in constant price terms.