Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

CAP is not well covered by Europe 2020

Adelina Marini, April 1, 2010

The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is not well covered in the Commission's proposal for a new economic strategy of the EU Europe 2020. This is the opinion of the EU agriculture ministers who met on Monday for their regular Council in Brussels. They welcomed the conclusions of the EU leaders from their summit last week, when they stated that sustainable, productive and competitive agriculture could contribute very much for more jobs and economic growth within the context of Europe 2020.

According to the agriculture ministers, farming could very well be incorporated into the three main priorities of the economic strategy, which are "smart growth" (for example through innovations to help optimize natural resources usage), sustainable growth (through bio energy) and jobs (by keeping jobs and people in rural areas).

Some ministers underlined the need the future EU strategy for jobs and growth to take into account not only the opinions of the ECOFIN and the General Affairs Council but also some sensitive issues and positions, expressed in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council. The agriculture ministers stated that achieving an environment friendly economy was a challenge which could not be achieved without agriculture, according to the conclusions of the Council.

Some ministers made it clear that the new strategy should not interfere or put into question the CAP financing. Several delegations expressed their support CAP to be kept strong with adequate financing, while others were reported to have warned that it was too early to make stakes for the next financial framework of the Union for the period 2014-2020. The conclusions do not mention specific countries so it is not clear which of them asked the CAP share to be maintained the same (some 40% of the common European budget or 53 bn euro per year).

At the press conference after the Council on Monday the Spanish environment and agriculture minister Elena Espinosa, whose country is now presiding the EU, said that financial aspects were not discussed. "You have to be aware that the discussion on EU's financial perspectives is still not open. From this point of view there is not much sense for us to discuss anything in this context. Firstly, we have to agree on what we want and then estimate how much it would cost", she added.

The Romanian Commissioner, responsible for agriculture Dacian Ciolos added that currently the Commission was working on finding the points of contact between the CAP and the new economic strategy Europe 2020. According to Mr Ciolos the future reform of the CAP would be indeed in the same direction - the economic development of the Union in the next 10 years.

The discussions on Europe 2020 will continue by the June European Council when it is expected the strategy to be approved by EU leaders.