Another reform? proposals for the post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy
Swinbank, A. (2012) Another reform? proposals for the post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy. World Agriculture: problems and potential, 3 (1). pp. 32-37. ISSN 2043-7234
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Official URL: http://www.world-agriculture.net/
Following two decades of policy change, in 2011 the European Commission tabled proposals for a new ‘reform’ of the CAP. A major component of the reform would be a revamping of the existing system of direct payments to farmers. For example, 30% of the spend would be dependent on farmers respecting new greening criteria; and payments would be restricted to active farmers and subject to a payment cap. These proposals will be debated by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament throughout 2012, and possibly 2013, before final decisions are reached. What aspects, if any, of the proposals will prove acceptable is yet to be discerned. Although tabled as part of a financial package, the proposals do not appear to be driven by financial exigency: indeed they seek to maintain the expenditure status quo. Nor do they appear to be driven by international pressures: if anything, they backtrack on previous attempts to bring the CAP into conformity with a post-Doha WTO Agreement on Agriculture. Instead they seek to establish a new partnership between society and ‘farmers, who keep rural areas alive, who are in contact with the ecosystems and who produce the food we eat’ (Cioloș 2011), in an attempt to justify continuing support.