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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Agriculture

28-06-2019

The common agricultural policy (CAP) is one of the oldest common policies in the EU. Its significance is reflected in the proportion of the EU's budget devoted to it, representing approximately 40 % of the total. Developed at a time when Europe was unable to meet most of its own food needs, it was necessary to encourage farmers to produce food by means of guaranteed prices. The policy has undergone regular reform and has evolved over the years. These reforms have sought to improve the competitiveness ...

The common agricultural policy (CAP) is one of the oldest common policies in the EU. Its significance is reflected in the proportion of the EU's budget devoted to it, representing approximately 40 % of the total. Developed at a time when Europe was unable to meet most of its own food needs, it was necessary to encourage farmers to produce food by means of guaranteed prices. The policy has undergone regular reform and has evolved over the years. These reforms have sought to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector, promote rural development and address new challenges in areas such as the environment and climate change. Evidence from a series of Eurobarometer surveys indicates that EU citizens have a high level of awareness of this policy area. There is a recognition that the policy is succeeding in meeting citizens' expectations in terms of delivering healthy high-quality food as well as contributing to the protection of the environment. When it comes to agriculture, Parliament's eighth term focused on taking forward not only implementation of the last CAP reform in 2013 but also a series of significant legislative achievements. The areas covered include, for example, unfair trading practices, animal health, plant health and the organic sector, as well as a range of policy-related simplification measures. On the non-legislative front, Parliament pursued its scrutiny role rigorously. Other substantial issues it considered during the last legislature included the future policy direction of the CAP for the post-2020 period, establishing its position on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), including the overall budgetary allocation for the future CAP and the associated legislative framework. In the case of the latter, this has not been the subject of a plenary vote. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU agricultural research and innovation

09-01-2019

The European Union's long-term strategy for agricultural research and innovation was published in January 2016 following a year-long process of development, which included targeted consultations. Based on five priority areas, the strategy guides the programming of its main research and innovation programme – Horizon 2020 – not only for 2018 to 2020 but also for the period beyond 2020, to be covered by Horizon Europe. In light of discussions on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP), the ...

The European Union's long-term strategy for agricultural research and innovation was published in January 2016 following a year-long process of development, which included targeted consultations. Based on five priority areas, the strategy guides the programming of its main research and innovation programme – Horizon 2020 – not only for 2018 to 2020 but also for the period beyond 2020, to be covered by Horizon Europe. In light of discussions on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP), the role of innovation in agriculture is examined, including the potential contribution that research and innovation can make to agriculture, the agri-food sector, rural areas and the challenges they face. These are set against changing global trends in public expenditure on agricultural research and development. These trends point to a relatively flat pattern of expenditure over the years 2012 to 2016 for the EU. In global terms, the structure of public agricultural expenditure is changing, with historically richer countries ceding ground to those with rapidly rising per capita incomes. In considering the EU's long-term strategy for agricultural research and innovation, the links between the CAP and the EU's research and innovation policies are identified. Evaluation evidence from a range of sources on the actual or potential impact of investment in agricultural research and innovation point to a link between such investment and productivity growth in agriculture, the potential for multi-dimensional impacts, and the potential offered by the Commission's current approach to agricultural research and innovation through the European innovation partnership operational groups for agriculture (EIP-AGRI).

CAP strategic plans

04-12-2018

The Commission's legislative proposals on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) were published on 1 June 2018. They comprise three proposals: a regulation setting out rules on support for CAP strategic plans; a regulation on the single common market organisation (CMO) and a horizontal regulation on financing, managing and monitoring the CAP. The proposal for a regulation on CAP strategic plans introduces a new delivery model, described by the Commission as a fundamental shift in the ...

The Commission's legislative proposals on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) were published on 1 June 2018. They comprise three proposals: a regulation setting out rules on support for CAP strategic plans; a regulation on the single common market organisation (CMO) and a horizontal regulation on financing, managing and monitoring the CAP. The proposal for a regulation on CAP strategic plans introduces a new delivery model, described by the Commission as a fundamental shift in the CAP, involving a shift from compliance towards results and performance. It includes a new distribution of responsibilities between the EU and Member States. A new planning process is proposed which will cover both Pillar I (direct payments) and Pillar II (rural development) of the CAP. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

CAP reform post-2020 - Setting the scene

30-05-2018

The Commission announced its proposals for the common agricultural policy post-2020 at the end of November 2017 in the form of a communication on the future of food and farming. They include proposals for: greater simplification to be achieved through increased subsidiarity involving a new delivery model, more effective targeting of direct payments, a shift towards a more results-based approach, and higher ambitions in respect of resource efficiency, environmental care and climate action. Other elements ...

The Commission announced its proposals for the common agricultural policy post-2020 at the end of November 2017 in the form of a communication on the future of food and farming. They include proposals for: greater simplification to be achieved through increased subsidiarity involving a new delivery model, more effective targeting of direct payments, a shift towards a more results-based approach, and higher ambitions in respect of resource efficiency, environmental care and climate action. Other elements will involve addressing issues such as generational renewal, the investment gap in agriculture, the role of research, innovation and training, risk management and a new green architecture. Under the new delivery model, Member States will have responsibility for establishing a common agricultural policy (CAP) strategic plan; this would be subject to approval by the Commission and would continue to set the basic policy parameters for the CAP. The proposals have generated a range of responses and have been the subject of discussion within the European Parliament's Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development. The Council has discussed the content of the communications and they have also been the subject of discussion by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Looking to the future, some reflections on the Commission's proposals are considered in light of the views expressed by a number of stakeholder groups. The Bulgarian Presidency has indicated that the future of the common agricultural policy will be discussed at the informal meeting of Ministers of Agriculture in Sofia in June 2018.

Organic production and labelling of organic products

11-04-2018

In 2014, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products. Aimed at revising the existing legislation on organic production in order to remove obstacles to the sustainable development of this sector, the proposal is intended to strengthen the rules on the control system, the trade regime, various animal welfare practices and the use of non-authorised substances. The proposed regulation will introduce one set of EU-wide rules covering ...

In 2014, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products. Aimed at revising the existing legislation on organic production in order to remove obstacles to the sustainable development of this sector, the proposal is intended to strengthen the rules on the control system, the trade regime, various animal welfare practices and the use of non-authorised substances. The proposed regulation will introduce one set of EU-wide rules covering the entire organic sector. Parliament is due to vote on the proposal during its April plenary session.

Organic farming legislation - Revision of EU Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products

09-03-2018

Developing organic production is an EU policy objective. While the EU organic market is constantly expanding, only 6 % of total EU agricultural area is used for organic cultivation, and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, the Commission adopted a proposal in March 2014 for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic ...

Developing organic production is an EU policy objective. While the EU organic market is constantly expanding, only 6 % of total EU agricultural area is used for organic cultivation, and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, the Commission adopted a proposal in March 2014 for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, repealing the current framework dating from 2007. Following a series of trilogue meetings, the Maltese Presidency and the European Parliament reached a preliminary agreement on 28 June 2017. The Council's Special Committee on Agriculture endorsed the agreement, which the Parliament's Agriculture Committee subsequently approved on 22 November 2017. The full Parliament and Council now need to approve the text before the new regulation can enter into force. This briefing updates earlier editions, of September (PE 568.317), and October 2015 (PE 596.036), drafted by Francesco Tropea.

Urban agriculture in Europe: Patterns, challenges and policies

18-12-2017

It is estimated that by 2050, 67 % of the world's population will live in urban areas. Increasing concerns over food security coupled with concerns over climate change have helped to promote interest in urban agriculture and the role it can play in respect of food security. The present paper aims to provide an overview of urban agriculture by examining it as it relates to issues of food security, the economy, social dimensions and the environment. Using short case studies and drawing on research ...

It is estimated that by 2050, 67 % of the world's population will live in urban areas. Increasing concerns over food security coupled with concerns over climate change have helped to promote interest in urban agriculture and the role it can play in respect of food security. The present paper aims to provide an overview of urban agriculture by examining it as it relates to issues of food security, the economy, social dimensions and the environment. Using short case studies and drawing on research from both Europe and the USA, the paper further explores the potential impact that urban agriculture can have and sets out its policy context. Looking to the future, one of the many challenges facing urban agriculture will be how it will achieve the necessary integration across all relevant EU policy areas.

'Omnibus regulation' – Agricultural provisions

06-12-2017

The proposed 'omnibus regulation' to amend EU financial rules represents the first occasion that changes to the basic regulations of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have been formally proposed since the 2013 reform. These changes represent policy choices involving a fine-tuning and simplification of the CAP. Parliament is due to vote on the proposal during the December plenary session.

The proposed 'omnibus regulation' to amend EU financial rules represents the first occasion that changes to the basic regulations of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have been formally proposed since the 2013 reform. These changes represent policy choices involving a fine-tuning and simplification of the CAP. Parliament is due to vote on the proposal during the December plenary session.

Foresight ? Contribution to the debate on the future of EU agricultural policy

28-08-2017

Strategic foresight is increasingly being used as a technique to help organisations anticipate and prepare for potential challenges or opportunities. Its application to agricultural and rural development policies is examined in this briefing. A range of relevant foresight studies are identified and examined across a number of elements, covering: the identification of key drivers of change; the nature of the scenarios they present (including the role of technology and precision farming); and food ...

Strategic foresight is increasingly being used as a technique to help organisations anticipate and prepare for potential challenges or opportunities. Its application to agricultural and rural development policies is examined in this briefing. A range of relevant foresight studies are identified and examined across a number of elements, covering: the identification of key drivers of change; the nature of the scenarios they present (including the role of technology and precision farming); and food security as well as the territorial dimensions relating to the future of Europe’s rural areas. These findings are analysed for their implications for future policy-making in respect of EU agriculture and rural development matters. In the field of public policy, there is a growing realisation that the policy process has to address many challenges such as: advancing greater policy integration; identifying and applying the lessons from previous experience of policy implementation; maximising the use of the available evidence base, and considering and adopting a long-term view of the future through forward thinking involving the development of different scenarios. Foresight studies recognise the multi-disciplinary nature of the challenges facing agriculture and the importance of 'interconnected policy-making'. The potential also exists for strategic foresight to be applied at different territorial levels.

The Brexit negotiations: Issues for the first phase

22-06-2017

Negotiations on the arrangements for the UK's withdrawal from the EU started on 19 June 2017. The European Commission is negotiating on behalf of the EU, on the basis of the European Council guidelines and the mandate given to it by the Council. The European Parliament, for its part, has laid down key principles and conditions for its approval of a UK withdrawal agreement. Three key priorities are set to dominate the first phase of the negotiations (with the future relationship between the EU and ...

Negotiations on the arrangements for the UK's withdrawal from the EU started on 19 June 2017. The European Commission is negotiating on behalf of the EU, on the basis of the European Council guidelines and the mandate given to it by the Council. The European Parliament, for its part, has laid down key principles and conditions for its approval of a UK withdrawal agreement. Three key priorities are set to dominate the first phase of the negotiations (with the future relationship between the EU and the UK being left to a second phase). These are: citizens' rights for EU-27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU-27; the settlement of the UK's financial obligations; and ensuring the Northern Ireland peace process is not compromised. This paper looks at the EU negotiating position and the major issues raised under those three priorities to date.

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