De Castro in Dublin on the CAP reform talks: Quality must prevail over the speed
The final deal on the future EU farm policy much depends on the successful conclusions of the EU long-term budget talks, a satisfactory deal on the delegated and implementing acts, and on the ability of Council to compromise more on crucial aspects of the CAP reform, Paolo De Castro, chair of the EP Agriculture committee told EU farm ministers on Monday during the informal Council meeting in Dublin. MEPs are ready to work day and night but the quality of the reform must prevail over the speed, he added.
MEPs "wish to come to a political agreement between Council and Parliament on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform under the Irish presidency, that is to conclude negotiations on the reform by the end of June," Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT), chair of the EP Agriculture committee and head of the Parliament's negotiating team on the CAP reform told EU farm ministers, but there are three issues that are "crucial for a successful agreement", he said stressing that the deal is possible only if the result is "reasonable and satisfying".
Ongoing negotiations on the EU Long-term budget
The first point is related to the successful conclusion of talks on the EU long-term budget - so called Multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2014-2020. These might be concluded "only after the end of June", Mr. De Castro said. If this is the case, the questions is, "what sort of agreement, if any, could be envisaged for the CAP reform", he said.
Furthermore, "the agreement of heads of states and governments on the MFF in February touched unfortunately upon issues relating to the CAP which are clearly to be decided under the co-decision procedure," Mr. De Castro pointed out and asked ministers to be flexible so as to reach "a positive outcome of the [CAP reform] negotiations".
Lisbon treaty: Delegated and implementing acts
"The treaty of Lisbon introduced new rules on so-called delegated and implementing acts, which replaced the old comitology procedure. The diverging interpretation of how to apply these new rules has prevented a proper alignment of the existing agricultural legislation and may be also a very substantial obstacle for an agreement on the [CAP] reform", Mr. De Castro said.
The Council might, after years of decision-making which did not involve Parliament, "have some difficulties to adapt to the new legal situation", but three years after the Lisbon treaty entered into force "a solution cannot be further delayed", Mr. De Castro said. If there is no deal that would be "legally and politically satisfying for both sides, we will simply not have a new CAP", he warned.
Council must be willing to compromise more
Even though some progress has been reached in the course of trilateral negotiations among Parliament, Council and Commission on the future shape of the CAP, "there is no result on the really important topics", Mr. De Castro said. He rejected the idea of leaving the stumbling blocks open until the very end of negotiations and called for solutions to be found within the next weeks.
"We have to find solutions also for crucial issues already in the negotiations before time is running out. Otherwise it will be extremely difficult to reach a compromise by the end of June", he warned. Parliament is "prepared to hold negotiations until the very end of the Irish presidency" and MEPs are willing "to work day and night" but "we have to get a reasonable and satisfying result. Quality has to prevail over speed", he concluded.
The speech was given at the informal Agriculture council meeting in Dublin on Monday morning. Apart from Mr. De Castro, who heads the Parliament's negotiating team, CAP rapporteurs including Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (S&D, PT), Michel Dantin (EPP, FR) and Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT) attended the meeting. Representatives of political groups in the EP Agriculture committee such as John Stuart Agnew (UK) for EFD, Martin Häusling (DE) for Greens/EFA, Mairead McGuinness (IE) for EPP, James Nicholson (UK) for ECR and George Lyon (UK) for ALDE were also present.
However, the meeting was not part of the trilateral negotiations as such. MEPs followed the invitation of the Irish presidency strictly "to exchange information, to clarify the rationale of the Parliament's position on certain crucial issues and to get a better understanding of Council's position".
Since the beginning of trilateral negotiations on 11 April, 20 trilogues covering all four regulations have taken place. Next trilogues, concerning Direct payments and Common market organisation, are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday this week.