No vote on CAP until budget agreed, says COMAGRI: The Parliament will delay its final position on CAP reform until the EU long-term budget (2014-2020) has been decided, MEPs in the EP Committee on Agriculture & Rural Development have insisted. In a Committee debate on Tues with the EP’s Rapporteurs on the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), COMAGRI MEPs said they must know the level of budgetary resources available when they decide how to reform the policy.
Speaking as co-rapporteur on the MFF, German Conservative MEP Reimer Böge insisted that the EP would not be forced to take a position before it was ready. “We should not let the Commission or the Council drive us to the state of panic”, he said, adding that “the quality has to be more important than the timetable”. The other corapporteur, Bulgarian Socialist Ivailo Kalfin, doubted that the MFF talks could be concluded by the end of the year. But some MEPs such as José Bové (Greens, Fr) rejected the wait-&-see approach, calling on the Committee to move ahead first with finalising the EP’s policy position. French Conservative MEP Michel Dantin warned that delays in the reform process could see the EU’s image “suffer”. [Previous indications suggest that the COMAGRI Rapporteurs are expected to present their draft reports in June with a vote –possibly on amendments only – scheduled for Nov/Dec]
Meanwhile, the MFF – all Heading except the CAP and Cohesion & the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ – is up for discussion among European Ministers at the General Affairs Council on Monday (Mar 26). Talks on the CAP & Cohesion Budgets will follow at the next GAC meeting on April 24. EU leaders will seek to finalise the ‘general orientations’ of the MFF negotiating box – outlining the main budgetary options – at a Summit on June 28/29, while the EP’s Budget Committee will draft an interim report on the MFF by early Oct.