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European agriculture adapting to the future

What will the common agricultural policy (CAP) look like in the years to come? Work on the CAP reform package started on 20 October with the Commission's presentation of its proposals to the Council.

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The key objectives of the CAP would remain the same: it should provide a basic income for farmers; supply safe and healthy food to consumers at reasonable prices; contribute to protect the environment and combat climate change; and address rural development.

New elements to be discussed by ministers are the proposals to reserve payments for active farmers; to reduce direct aid to the biggest farms in order to ensure a fairer distribution of money; and to make payments subject to the respect of environmental requirements, such as crop rotation, set-aside and animal welfare, the so-called greening.

Existing market management tools would be preserved, simplified and extended in order to respond appropriately to crises caused by price volatility or sanitary crises, for example the recent E. coli outbreak.

Globalisation makes it necessary for European agriculture to adapt. In order for farming to become more competitive on global markets, the Commission proposes to link the CAP to the EU's strategy for growth and jobs, with focus on training, innovation and research. Rural areas should be developed to maintain employment, for instance through creation of infrastructure such as roads and broadband networks in remote areas. The proposed reform package provides that young farmers starting business should receive more aid, as well as farmers in less favoured areas.

Six of the seven proposals will be co-decided by the ordinary legislative procedure between the Council and the European Parliament. The new rules should enter into force on 1 January 2014.


More information:
Press release (pdf)
Public debate
Press conference webcast
Legal proposals (Commission website)

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