VIDEO: MEPs get full vote on CAP amendments

More than 300 proposed amendments to CAP reform will be debated by the full European Parliament, MEPs have decided.

The parliament’s agriculture committee (Comagri) said all MEPs should be allowed to vote on the amendments in a decision made ahead of a debate on Tuesday (12 March).

An extraordinary Comagri meeting was held on Monday (11 March) to whittle down some 330 amendments on direct payments, the single CMO regulation, rural development and CAP financing, management and monitoring.

European Parliament rules mean when there are more than 50 amendments, only those that receive at least one-tenth of the committee members’ vote shall be admitted to plenary vote.

In the event, Comagri decided all amendments should be admitted to the plenary.

The 300-plus amendments include calls by some MEPs to reintroduce milk quotas, despite the EU having already taken the decision to end them from 1 April 2015.

They also call for the ending of export refunds which have been little used in the CAP in recent years, but whose continued existence offer a useful and bargaining chip in World Trade Organisation negotiations.

Other amendments include calls by UK Conservative MEPs to delete entirely any form of coupled aid from the CAP.

Meanwhile, Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness tabled an amendment to limit the maximum amount of coupled aid payments payable to no more than 10% of the available financial envelope.

This would be an improvement over the 15% supported by the majority of MEPs back in January, but still falls short of an NFU request to have no more than 5% coupled payments.

On the direct payments regulation, the majority of amendments relating to “greening” requirements remain unchanged from an earlier vote in January.

The most contentious element of the MEP vote remains whether they will allow farmers to be paid twice for doing the same thing for the environment, known as “double funding.”

The European Commission is likely to put up a fierce battle on this aspect of the future CAP.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond travelled to Strasbourg ahead of the vote to lobby and advise MEPs.

The NFU was having one last push to make sure MEPs lay down the foundations for a CAP based on four overriding principles of simplicity, fairness, competitiveness and productivity,” he said.

The vote takes place on Wednesday (13 March) from 11am GMT.

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