9th Jun 2023

MEPs side with commission over limits to farm subsidies

  • MEPs say they support a 'greening' of the CAP, provided it doesn't increase paperwork (Photo: lant_70)

Members of the European Parliament's agriculture committee have thrown their support behind commission plans to limit farm payments under a reformed common agricultural policy (CAP), but warned against future increases in bureaucracy for farmers.

The MEPs also signaled their support for a more environmentally-friendly CAP post 2013 and stressed the need for European food security, adopting a report by German centre-right MEP Albert Dess on Wednesday (25 May) by a large majority.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The full complement of euro-deputies sitting in plenary this June is now expected to back the resolution, setting out parliament's response to non-legislative commission proposals on CAP reform.

Published in November, the commission plans called for a limit to be placed on the amount of EU money handed out to Europe's largest farms and farming businesses, with hundreds currently receiving over €1 million a year.

EU agriculture ministers rejected the idea in March however, with EU farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos declaring his intention to push ahead regardless. Legislative proposals on CAP reform are expected this autumn.

Ciolos now appears to have gained an ally, with MEPs gaining co-decision powers over the EU's farming policy under the Lisbon Treaty. "The majority [of committee members] were in favour of some scaling of payments. We are very interested to see what the commission will propose," Dess told journalists after Wednesday's vote.

Another commission proposal - to provide EU farmers with a system of top-up payments for environmentally-friendly activities - was criticised by MEPs, however. Instead they want to see subsidies in this area built into the current payments scheme.

"We all agree on the need to 'green' the CAP, but it must not become an administrative burden for our farmers," said Socialist Italian MEP Paolo De Castro, chair of the agriculture committee.

The euro-deputies also called for a fairer distribution of EU farm subsidies post 2013, with the current system of calculating the handouts producing wide divergences, ranging from over €500 per hectare in Greece to less than €100 in Latvia.

Wednesday's resolution assumes the overall size of the CAP budget will remain the same under the future reformed policy, despite calls from several member state governments for national austerity measures to be replicated in Brussels.

Within the commission itself, voices are increasingly clamouring for a slice of the CAP's €55 billion annual budget, with funding for the EU's new external action service among the additional pressures on the EU budget.

EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski is scheduled to publish his long-term budget proposals before the summer recess, providing greater clarity to the debate over CAP reform.


Part of EU middle class 'being squeezed out', MEP warns

EUobserver interviewed Spanish MEP Jordi Cañas to discuss the situation of Europe's middle class, the dangerous political reaction if certain groups feel neglected, and the role that member states and the EU can play at the policy level.

MEPs to urge block on Hungary taking EU presidency in 2024

"This will be the first time a member state that is under the Article 7 procedure will take over the rotating presidency of the council," French Green MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, the key lawmaker on Hungary, warned.

European Parliament scales back luxury MEP pension fund

The European Parliament's Bureau, a political body composed of the president and its vice-presidents, decided to slash payouts from the fund by 50 percent, freeze automatic indexations, and increase the pension age from 65 to 67.


Right of Reply from the Hungarian government

Authors Samira Rafaela MEP and Tom Theuns present as facts the extreme views of a politically-motivated campaign in the European Parliament. By doing so, they undermine the very foundations of the European Union.

Latest News

  1. Belgian bâtonnier on Russia: 'You can have a client you don't like'
  2. EU's proposed ethics body 'toothless', say campaigners
  3. Study: 90% of Spanish inflation 'driven by corporate profits'
  4. If Spanish economy is doing well, why is Sanchez poised to lose?
  5. EU lawyers for Russia: making 'good' money?
  6. The 'BlackRock exemption' has no place in the EU's due diligence directive
  7. Europeans don't see China as a rival, but weapons to Russia is a red line
  8. Cleaning workers urge Parliament: 'Europe should lead by example'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations
  2. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  3. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  4. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us