Despite some on-going arguments, the Twenty-Seven are increasingly closer to reaching an agreement on the provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the coming years.
"There are considerably fewer disagreements than before; I believe that we are getting close to a final agreement that will be good for our producers and acceptable to all Member States," said the Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, in a press conference held after last Monday's meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union in Brussels. According to Wojciechowski, there are still different views on some issues, but not "any strong objections."
Julia Klöckner, Minister of Agriculture of Germany, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, stressed that the meeting has given a "very strong boost" to the negotiations.
The political agreement on the future CAP would be only the first step towards the approval of the new European agricultural standards. Once the 27 agree on a common position, they will have to negotiate with the European Parliament. In any case, the new CAP would not come into force until January 2023, once the two-year extension of the current one expires.
Despite the fact that Commissioner Wojciechowski appeared optimistic in the press conference, he also showed his disagreement during the meeting with some of the proposals that the German Government has put on the table to bring the positions of the countries closer together.
For example, Wojciechowski was unhappy with the fact that setting a limit of 100,000 Euro per farm will be voluntary, as agreed at the July summit, and not mandatory, as had been proposed by the European Commission.
Regarding the 'green' architecture of the next CAP, the commissioner celebrated that the introduction of the so-called eco-schemes is once again mandatory for the Member States (although voluntary for producers), but warned that this “doesn't mean that greater environmental ambition is guaranteed.”
In this sense, he argued that the "simplest solution" to prevent the 'green' programs of the CAP from not being implemented is that minimum expenses are set "at reasonable levels" during the first years of application and "at higher ones later, so that the required average is reached throughout the entire period."