MEPs push for modern common policy on farming with fair funding

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MEPs push for modern common policy on farming with fair fundingToday, MEPs set out their priorities for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for after 2020, by 468 votes in favour to 123 against, with 89 abstentions.

MEPs say that the post-2020 EU farm policy must be smarter, simpler, fairer and more sustainable, but also well financed and truly common.

The MEPs also said that EU member states should be able to adapt the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to their needs. But they rejected any “renationalisation” of the CAP, which they say, “could distort competition in the single market.”

They insisted that the CAP must be based on a common set of EU objectives, rules, tools and checks. Member states should then design their national strategies tailored to their needs.

Farming activities in all member states should be subject to the same high EU standards and their breach should trigger similar penalties, MEPs say.While the future EU farming policy should foster performance rather than compliance.W

The future CAP, on top of enabling EU farms to carry on producing safe and quality food at affordable prices, should also make them more environmentally sustainable and fully integrated into the circular economy.

MEPs also stated that it should also foster innovation, research and smart farming practices. To this end, they want to maintain the CAP budget at its current level as a minimum.

Parliament also wants:

· direct payments to continue to be fully financed from the EU budget,

· to cut red tape for the mandatory greening measures and make them more result-oriented; voluntary measures should be simplified and better targeted

· a new EU method to calculate direct payments to phase out historical support criteria and support more those who deliver additional public goods,

· more efficient ways to ensure that EU support goes to genuine farmers,

· fairer distribution of EU funds among member states, considering amounts received and differences e.g. in production costs or purchasing power,

· less money for larger farms with an EU-wide mandatory payment ceiling,

· more money to help invigorate rural areas, rejecting thus the 25% cut in the 2021-2027 rural development budget as proposed by the Commission on 2 May,

· stronger support to young and new farmers and to those hit by income and price volatility,

· to exclude the most sensitive sectors from trade negotiations

· allow for support coupled to production, which member states can now grant to crucial ailing sectors, to also be used for strategically important production, e.g. protein crops, or to compensate the effects of free trade deals.

Photograph of Gozitan fruit and veg by Alain Salvary

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