Tuesday

22nd Oct 2019

Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus

  • Bulgarian minister of agriculture Rumen Porodzanov was unable to convince his colleagues from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia to support a joint declaration. (Photo: Pixabay)

Agriculture ministers were unable to reach consensus on a declaration on the future of the common agriculture policy at a meeting in Brussels on Monday (19 March) - the greatest area of discord being the distribution of subsidies.

Bulgarian minister of agriculture Rumen Porodzanov was unable to convince his colleagues from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia to support a joint declaration.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

However, he noted at a press conference afterwards that agreement by 23 out of 28 member states was not bad.

"In no case would I say that today's adoption of 'presidency conclusions' is disappointing," said Porodzanov, referring to the formal name of the declaration taken.

The text would have been called 'council conclusions' if it had been unanimously supported. It summarises the response of farming ministers to a European Commission strategy paper presented by the commission last November.

According to Porodzanov, the disagreement of the five central and eastern member states related to how agriculture subsidies are divided between member states.

"There is a difference between the average amount paid per hectare, a difference which comes into play when we talk about 'new' and 'old' member states," said the Bulgarian minister.

The average amount paid is generally higher in the – mostly western – member states that were in the EU before 2004. This reflects the substantial differences in average salaries and purchasing power that continue to exist within the EU.

Porodzanov noted that the five wanted fully equal subsidies across the bloc, something called "full external convergence" in EU-speak.

"I of course understand very well the member states who demanded this because they are responsible to their agriculture community," he said.

"They have to face their own community and explain these points so their position is not a surprise to us," he noted.

However, the five were not able to support the final compromise paragraph, which read that ministers "[recognised] the different views of member states on the subject of external convergence of direct payments".

The EU's agriculture commissioner, Irishman Phil Hogan, said that a text supported by 23 member states was "a very good outcome".

"It is a pity that ministers were unable to show the necessary flexibility to have unanimity," he added.

It depends on the budget

The commissioner noted that the future of the agriculture subsidies relied on the outcome of negotiations on the EU's multi-annual financial framework (MFF), which in turn depends on whether member states are willing to pay more into the budget after Brexit.

"The external convergence of direct payments: it's very difficult to get agreement if you don't know what the MFF is," said Hogan. Discussions on the MFF however are above the seniority of the agriculture ministers, but are determined by the EU's presidents and prime ministers.

"The budget is tied very much into what the final outcome will be on the issues around external convergence," he said, adding that his colleague responsible for the budget will present a proposal on 2 May.

The presidency conclusions, not yet published as of Tuesday morning but seen by this website, 'acknowledged' that more MFF discussions were needed.

The text also referred to the commission plan to give member states more room for manoeuvre when implementing the EU's farming policy.

The text welcomed the idea, but stressed that it must not lead to fragmentation. In a last-minute addition, the ministers added the phrase "pending further information from the commission".

The idea itself was only presented in a non-binding strategy paper.

Hogan said on Monday that he expected to propose legislation to reform the common agriculture policy "end of May or early June".

Visual Data

EU farming policy: The damage done by 20 years of inertia

The EU Commission will ask the public later this week how the common agricultural policy should be overhauled. Data from the past two decades reveals a catalogue of missed chances and failed reforms.

Opinion

Progressive CAP alternative only hope for sustainability

We see the new CAP as spelling the death of rural communities, the acceleration of the rural exodus, the consolidation of big agribusinesses, jeopardising public health standards and turning binding climate change targets into optional goals for member states.

News in Brief

  1. Brexit is waste of time and energy, says Juncker
  2. Abortion and same-sex marriage become legal in Northern Ireland
  3. Germany wants internationally controlled zone in Syria
  4. EU parliament refuses to debate Catalonia
  5. Four businessmen charged in Slovak journalist murder
  6. Erdogan accuses EU of 'standing by terrorists' in Syria
  7. Migrants riot in Maltese camp
  8. Spanish PM refuses dialogue with Catalonia president

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. MPs vote on Johnson's latest push for Brexit deal
  2. Macron breaks Balkans promise in quest for EU dominance
  3. Snap elections in North Macedonia after EU rejection
  4. UK opposition MPs attack new Brexit deal
  5. Deep divisions on display over post-Brexit EU budget
  6. Juncker: 'Historic mistake' against Balkan EU hopefuls
  7. EU leaders spent just 12 minutes on climate
  8. Crunch Brexit vote in UK This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us