Speech of Mr Neil Parish, chairman of the committee on agriculture and rural development of the European Parliament

Informal Council of Agriculture, Brno, 02.06.2009

President in office of the Council, ministers, Commissioner,

I would like to thank you President for having invited me again as chairman of the committee on agriculture of the European Parliament, to the meeting of the Informal Council. Thank you also for the good co-operation we had, also with your predecessor, Mr Gandalovic.

This is the last Council meeting I am attending as representative of the European Parliament as I am going back to national politics. I would like to thank therefore also the former presidencies for the co-operation, which got more and more intensive, in particular with Michel Barnier, who applied a sort of quasi-co-decision procedure with Parliament on the health check.  Many thanks also to our Commissioner, Mariann Fischer-Boel,  for the excellent co-operation with my committee .

The main topic of this meeting is the CAP after 2013, and, at that time, the treaty of Lisbon will probably be in force. I can assure you that the Parliament is prepared to assume its increased responsibilities and will play a very active role in shaping the future CAP.

On the main subject today, allow me some short  remarks:
The scenario for the debate on the CAP after 2013 is very risky for agricultural interests:
We have to face:
the debate on the EU-financial framework in a financial crisis
the new protocol of  Copenhagen on climate change  
the end of the transition period for new member states
a new WTO agreement as a result of the Doha round
and the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty

Taking account of this scenario, I would like to make some short comments:
First, on the procedure:
I think, we need a Commission-communication on the future CAP on the table soon after the Commission present their communication on the future of the EU budget by the end of 2009.  This communication should give clear orientations with regard to the challenges we have to meet and should allow Council and Parliament to design, before 2011 the main new pathways of the CAP.  Otherwise the finance ministers decide on the CAP by fixing the budgetary framework. 

Second, on the content:
We need a new model of support for farmers and at the same time new mechanisms of regulation and stabilisation of markets. With regard to the "Single Payment Scheme", once de-coupling has been fully implemented, we can approach a new step of "targeting" and "tailoring"  support, which means support being  more specific, emphasizing more the multi-functional role of agriculture, being appropriate to the objectives and  delivering real added value at European level.

The new model for the single payment scheme should take into account the following aspects:
Equal treatment of  all Member states
stabilisation of income of farmers with regard to the high volatility of commodity prices,
compensation of  additional costs due to EU-specific environmental, animal welfare and traceability obligations,
compensation for delivering environmental public goods,
reward for land management, in particular in less favoured areas    
The modalities of the new model should be specific to each aspect: for example flat rate payments for the stabilisation of income and direct payments for delivering public goods, based on the requirements of EU-legislation.

In the context of a multi-functional CAP, structured through support for specific objectives, the shape of the CAP would have to change. The separation between the two pillars would be obsolete, modulation would make no more sense and cross-compliance would be deeply changed and simplified. Indeed, simplification would be a major asset of the new CAP.

The systemic instability of markets of agricultural products has always been in the centre of agricultural policy and price fluctuations will persist when markets are opened and globalised. And climate change will amplify the frequency and intensity of natural disasters and will make production, which is concentrated in some regions, still more volatile.
 
With regard to the regulation of markets, the CAP should therefore maintain the safety nets in order to stabilise markets in times of high volatility. Parliament has emphasized this already in its opinion on the health check. Finally, we must reinforce new instruments for risk management (insurances and mutual funds) and help farmers to play a more important role in the food chain.
So far some basic personal ideas, I am looking forward to the ideas and proposals from Council members. 

Finally, let me make a specific remark. I would like to encourage our Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel to remain for a second term as Commissioner for Agriculture.  

Thank you for your attention

Last update: 16.8.2011 15:19

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