Thursday

23rd Jan 2020

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

Support quality EU news

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

... or join 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.

Exclusive

Senior Polish member at EU body faces Belgian abuse probe

A Polish official seeking to become president of the European Economic and Social Committee, a minor EU institution, could face Belgian charges for psychological harassment after the EU's anti-fraud office Olaf alerted authorities.

Catalan MEPs Puigdemont and Comin look for a party

The former head of the Catalan regional government, Carles Puigdemont, and one member of his government, Toni Comín, have requested to join the Greens/EFA group - but they do not close the door to other political groups.

Exclusive

Big Oil sponsors Croatia's EU presidency

Croatia's national oil company has become the EU council presidency's "official gasoline supplier" - in a move that appears to clash with aspirations of the European Green Deal. Critics say such sponsorships pose a reputational risk with the wider public.

Parliament calls for citizens' 'agoras' to shape future EU

Details have been revealed by the European Parliament of its proposals on how to conduct the two-year post-Brexit reform exercise of the EU. But a final format will have to be determined in talks with member states and the commission.

Two Catalan MEPs take their seats - with a third in jail

Catalan separatist leaders Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín arrived at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to take their seats as MEPs on Monday, pledging "the Catalan crisis is not an internal matter, it is a European one".

News in Brief

  1. UK watchdog unveils online child-privacy standards
  2. Alleged 'bully' nominated for EESC presidency
  3. Greens/EFA fail to agree on accepting Catalan MEPs
  4. MEPs approve over 55 gas projects for EU funding
  5. Italy deputy PM Di Maio quits as Five Star party leader
  6. EU investment bank to keep pressure on Turkey over gas
  7. 'Rare' migrant boat from Belgium to UK sinks
  8. First annual rule of law report expected this year, Reynders said

This is the (finally) approved European Commission

MEPs gave the green light to the entire new European Commission during the plenary session in Strasbourg - but with the abstention of the Greens and a rejection by the leftist group GUE/NGL.

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU warned on 'vigilance' after Davos spy fail
  2. What's Libya's impact on EU foreign policy?
  3. EU commission 'lacks ambition' on future conference
  4. Will US privacy-lite hollow out GDPR?
  5. Senior Polish member at EU body faces Belgian abuse probe
  6. Why isn't Germany helping gay rights in Hungary, Poland?
  7. US retiree, scammed by former EU official, awaits justice
  8. Vienna-Brussels night train returns amid EU green talk

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us