On 10th July, as announced, the European Commission presented its plan for the EU farm policy mid-term review. Its key aspects are:
– decoupling direct support from production: “Farmers will be able to produce the crop or the type of meat where they see the best market opportunities and not the highest subsidies” Mr Fischler affirmed;
– requiring farmers to fulfil stricter environmental and quality criteria and to reduce direct payments in order to redirect the money saved into rural development schemes: “ In future, farms will not be paid for overproduction but for responding to what people want: safe good, quality production, animal welfare and a healthy environment”, Mr Fischler ensured.
Can these plans be seen as a concrete strategy in order to solve the famous “dilemma” between supporting farming incomes and reinforcing rural development dimension? Can the announced designed instruments to promote both sustainable and competitive agriculture in less favoured areas effectively protect our least developed and outermost Regions? What will be the impact of CAP mid-term review on the Enlargement process? These questions are important to the diverse European Regions and their rural development.
“As from now, we call for full Regions’ involvement in the establishment of the future common framework of environmental standards and implementation criteria, alongside with EU and member States” said Liese Prokop, AER President. “We insist on the need of a coherent and balanced strategy of sustainable development, which imply support for all our regions, including least developed and outermost ones. We also recommend coordination between future Cohesion Policy, CAP and all other EU policies with strong structural impact, as Transport policy, for example” she added.
“We will assess possible impact of Mr Fischler’s blueprint, and its feasibility even, by consulting our member Regions” Brian Greenslade, President of AER Committee on ‘Regional Policy’ announced. “As it represents more than 250 Regions from all over Europe, both inside and outside from the EU, the Assembly of European Regions has a fundamental role to play in this debate. We will thus identify our Regions’ expectations, their needs, their current experience of CAP and their opinion on the new ideas for a revision of CAP”, he concluded.
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