More CAP changes are on the way

ADOPTION OF the new EU constitution over the next two years will trigger further, more dramatic reform of the CAP.

Liberal MEP Andrew Nicholas Duff told the European Arable Farmers meeting that the composition of the parliament”s agriculture committee would change significantly.

The parliament would get the same say as farm ministers in running the CAP, ending its purely consultative role, and MEPs would also get more influence over agriculture expenditure.

“Currently, the committee is stuffed with farmers, and parliament usually goes along with what they say,” he said.

But as it got more powerful, the agriculture committee would attract the parliament’s “movers and shakers”. “They will exert much more pressure on the commission to complete the reform process it has started.”

EU commission spokesman Eugene de Lacroix forecast higher levels of modulation with more emphasis on rural development. Farmers would also face stricter cross-compliance conditions and tighter controls on the budget. “Lobbyists will need all of their ingenuity to continue to make a case for farm support,” he said.

Further warnings came from head of fruit and vegetables at the commission, Tomas Azcarate. EU negotiators had already agreed as part of the Doha Round of WTO talks to eliminate export subsidies. “We know export subsidies will end, though we don’t know the timetable.” The result would be further reform of the CAP, especially in the sugar sector.