Sunday

18th Nov 2018

MEPs blame governments for impasse on farm policy reform

  • €278 billion is meant to be spent on the EU's common agricultural policy (Photo: Andrew Stawarz)

Governments are putting at risk plans to reform the EU's common agriculture policy (CAP) by refusing to budget in negotiations, the European Parliament said Tuesday (4 June).

Italian Socialist deputy Paolo De Castro, who chairs the assembly's agriculture committee, warned that "if the current stalemate on essential elements of the reform continues, negotiations under the Irish presidency could collapse."

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

EU lawmakers are attempting the first overhaul of the CAP since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty which gave parliament equal powers with governments.

But governments are reluctant to move from their position that a total of €278 billion should be allocated to CAP spending in the next seven year EU budget framework, over 35 percent of the bloc's total spending.

Referring to this, De Castro commented that "council needs to accept that parliament has equal political power and we're offering maximum flexibility."

The parliament team added that they had to wait more than three months to be sent the figures for the breakdown of rural development funding agreed by governments in February.

The negotiations focus on four legislative files overhauling the CAP, ranging from direct subsidy payments to farmers and rural development, to the organisation of individual markets for agricultural products.

A total of 24 trialogue meetings between MEPs, ministers and the European Commission have already taken place since negotiations began in April, with further sessions expected every day this week next week. The impasse also raises the prospect of a last-minute deal, with one contact telling this website that "agriculture and fisheries guys like their long nights".

MEPs claim that an agreement needs to be reached before the end of the Irish EU Presidency on 30 June to allow the new regime to be put into law by January 2014, when the new EU budget cycle starts. Farming leaders have voiced concern that failure to reach a swift deal could lead to years of delay.

Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, a Portuguese centre-left deputy, commented that member states were treating the February budget deal as "sacrosanct" and that there should be "no taboo issues" in the talks.

However, he indicated that the two parties were close to agreement on direct payments, small scale farming, and measures to increase environmental protection.

There is also disagreement on the amount of money that can be transferred between the direct farm payments and rural development headings. MEPs want to limit the flexibility to 10 percent transfer of the total envelope, while ministers would allow countries to switch up to 25 percent between the two pots.

An Irish Presidency source said there was "determination by everybody to reach an agreement," adding that "flexibility is the key word".

MEPs can unpick EU farm subsidies deal

Agreement on EU farm subsidies remains far from clear, after the European Commission said the European Parliament could unpick the deal reached last week at the EU budget summit

Agenda

Brussels to focus on social justice this WEEK

This week ministers will attempt to iron out differences with MEPs on the EU's future cohesion policy, while the EU commission will focus on social justice in the eurozone.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Opinion

On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us