Parliament's rapporteurs welcomed on Wednesday adoption of Agriculture Council's general approach on the reform of the EU farm policy but stressed that in some areas tough negotiations will have to take place.
"We welcome the position of EU agriculture ministers on the reform of the EU farm policy. This is excellent new as now both Parliament and Council are ready and real negotiations on the future shape of the Common agricultural policy can start", said Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT), chair of the EP Agriculture committee.
"There are some areas where Council followed Parliament's lead and other where we will have to negotiate intensively. European Parliament is determined to strike a deal as soon as possible, but speedy negotiations must not compromise the result, which should be fairer, more sustainable and less bureaucratic farm policy ensuring food security for all EU citizens", Mr. De Castro added.
Direct payments and Rural development
"Double funding is absolutely unacceptable. It destroys the legitimacy potential of the greening, by watering down environmental demands and by the possibility of granting a payment two times for the same purpose", said rapporteur for the Direct payments and Rural development regulations Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (S&D, PT).
"According to the Council suggestions, the payment for young farmers becomes voluntary, which is totally contrary to the EP mandate and the objective of generational renewal and promoting dynamic rural economies", he explained.
"The EP as the representative of EU citizens has taken a historically important decision on the capping of payments to farmers. It is highly disappointing to see that the Council has taken a different stand on this by adopting a voluntary character for degressivity and capping of payments", Mr. Capoulas Santos added.
"Parliament has been requesting the results of negotiations on the national envelopes that seem to have been sorted over the MFF negotiations. It has been more than a month and the EP rapporteurs on the CAP are still not aware of the figures. If there is opacity, there must be a reason for that and I will not sit down at the negotiation table on these issues without information on what figures the Council has decided to put down", Mr. Capoulas Santos concluded.
Common market organisation
"Apart from some limited progress on planting rights and sugar quotas, I regret that no deep reflection, nor innovative proposal, was made by the Council to strengthen the position of producers in the food supply chain and to secure more their increasingly low and volatile income", said rapporteur for the Common markets organisation regulation Michel Dantin (EPP, FR).
"Apparently little focused on this regulation, the Council has merely broadly endorsed the proposal from the Commission, while trying to remove Parliament's jurisdiction over certain essential elements of the text such as reference prices or public intervention. I hope that future negotiations will breathe a little more inspiration and ambition to the Council on these major issues for agriculture in our continent", Mr. Dantin added.
Financing, management and monitoring
"The time has come for an open debate between Parliament and Council. Our priority is administrative simplification and transparency and this will be our red line in negotiations", said Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT), rapporteur for the financing, management and monitoring regulation.
"In this context, I regret the fact that Council wants to apply additional sanctions to farmers who will not be able to apply mandatory greening measure. Those farmers will already lose greening component of their direct payments and I believe this is a penalty high enough", Mr. La Via added.
The final shape of the new EU farm policy will be decided by the European Parliament, EU farm ministers and the European Commission, in three-way negotiations which are set to begin on 11 April. This is the first reform of the EU's agricultural policy where the European Parliament acts as co-legislator on an equal footing with the Council.
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