CAP strategic plans: Issues and expectations for EU agriculture
The European Commission’s legislative proposals for the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) were published in June 2018. Since then a number of significant developments have occurred in this policy area. These include the adoption of the European Green Deal and its associated initiatives of the ‘farm to fork’ strategy and the biodiversity strategy, and also the agreement on the 2021 2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) alongside additional support of €7.5 billion for rural development from the Next Generation EU initiative as part of the recovery and resilience package. The European Parliament adopted its first-reading position on the Commission’s proposals on 23 October 2020. This position constitutes the basis for negotiations between Council and Parliament, which started on 10 November 2020. In December 2020, the Commission adopted its recommendations to each Member State on the preparation of their CAP national strategic plans. Meanwhile, a number of observations and commentaries have been published on CAP reform. These have highlighted some of the key differences between the proposal adopted by the Commission and the positions adopted by the European Parliament and Council. A range of stakeholders and others have also expressed their views on the CAP reform. The main challenge for the future EU farm policy will be how to address environmental concerns while maintaining farm viability. The nature and scale of the issues facing EU agriculture also represent significant challenges for the strategic planning process along with the content and ambition of the new CAP strategic plans, including the governance framework for the new policy. The Portuguese Presidency of the Council has indicated that reaching an agreement on the CAP reform negotiations in spring 2021 is one of its main objectives. The outcome of the trilogue negotiations will determine the future direction of the EU’s agricultural policy, including how the CAP will contribute towards the achievement of the targets contained within the European Green Deal. Much will depend on the design of the new CAP strategic plans, including the effectiveness and efficiency of the measures chosen and their subsequent implementation.
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