After the frenetic activity of the last few weeks with the EU Parliament and Council arriving at their respective CAP reform negotiating positions, the various parties now have chance to assess the differences between positions and where the key negotiating areas will be.
MEPs have been responding to the Council’s ‘general approach’ on CAP reform pointing to a number of areas where the institutions are at odds. Luis Capoulas Santos, rapporteur on direct payments and rural development, has slammed Council for allowing ‘double funding’ and criticised Ministers for making aid to young farmers voluntary rather than mandatory. He also attacked Ministers’ refusal to make capping of top receipts obligatory. He also said that he would “not sit down at the negotiation table” without access to CAP figures for national envelopes.
Michel Dantin, rapporteur on market tools, welcomed the extension of sugar quotas and vine planting rules, but slammed Council’s failure to “strengthen the position of producers in the food supply chain”. Giovanni La Via, rapporteur on CAP monitoring & financing, demanded less severe penalties for farmers that fail to comply with new ‘greening’ rules.
It is these sorts of areas – to do with whether schemes should be voluntary and the sorts of rules surrounding cross compliance and penalties – which will be the focus on the forth coming negotiations which start on April 11.
The next phase involves the EU Parliament, the Council (Presidency) and the Commission. These triologue meetings are where the real CAP real is done. The Irish hope to be able to finalise the CAP regulation through this process of negotiation by the end of June.
If they are successful, the Commission will rapidly bring forward draft implementing regulations which will provide the detail of how the overarching regulation should be put in place by Member States.
Scottish Government are looking to consult on the various models for implementing a move toward area payments early in 2014, once the implementing regulations are understood and finalised.