WWF, EPC Policy Debate: What future for the Common Agricultural Policy? | WWF

WWF, EPC Policy Debate: What future for the Common Agricultural Policy?

Views on the next CAP Reform

The debate on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy hosted by the European Policy Centre and the WWF Policy Office the 14th of February brought up some controversial views from participants, only a week after the European Council voted on the next EU Budget for 2014-2020.

The WWF European Policy Office recorded some short interviews with some of the speakers of the panel discussion, who represented a wide range of views.

Sébastien Godinot, Economist, WWF European Policy Office
Sébastien Godinot mentions four key issues that need to form part of the next CAP Reform: a strong Rural Development policy; a meaningful “Greening” of Direct Payments; the maintaining of some basic environmental and public health requirements under cross compliance and the rejection of double subsidies for farmers which are illegal under EU law and WTO. In his opinion the European Parliament has weakened the “Greening” of the Direct Payments “to a point that is completely meaningless”. 


Herman Vesteijlen, Director for Common Market Organisations for agricultural products, DG Agriculture, European Commission
Mr Vesteijlen points out that finding the “right balance” between competitiveness and environment’s ambitions in agriculture would be the most important issue in the next CAP Reform. The Director for Common Market Organisations for agricultural products also mentions the increasing of production costs for farmers and recognises their efforts. 

Alan Matthews, Professor Emeritus, European Agricultural Policy, Trinity College Dublin
Alan Matthews highlights three key concerns in the next CAP Reform: the conversion of the Direct Payments; the Greening element; and the supply and market management issues. He expressed “disappointment” with reductions in the Rural Development budget, “these cuts are much more significant than the marginal cuts in Direct Payments and market management measures”. Matthews is unhappy with the level of Greening and points out that shifting funds from pillar 1 to pillar 2 would be “the right way to go” in the future.

Shelby Matthews, Chief Policy Advisor at COPA-COGECA, 
Improving the economic situation of farmers and strengthening their position in the food chain are the main concerns for Ms Shelby Matthews,. According to her, European farmers are concerned about their future, the impact of climate change and also the fact that they get so little from the market. Concerning the Greening measures, Matthews believes that the promotion of the Green growth would be the only way to get a real impact in the environment, in particular in the climate change challenge. COPA-COGECA is disappointment by the EU Budget cuts and the reduction of Direct Payments, which are “crucial” for the farmers.

	© WWF/Fred F. Hazelhoff
Farmer with cows, Poland.
© WWF/Fred F. Hazelhoff