The EU's Ministers of Agriculture continued today, during the first day of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, their efforts to achieve convergence and common understanding on the Regulations of the new Common Agricultural Policy.
Three round table discussions were held: one on the Direct Payments Regulation, one on the Common Single Market Organisation and one on Rural Development.
Regarding the discussion on greening and equivalence of direct payments, all delegations welcomed the Cyprus Presidency’s proposals. The proposals aim at providing flexibility to Member States so they can counter their different agronomic and environmental characteristics. This is expected to tackle the reduction of competitiveness and productivity of European producers.
As regards the Single Market Organisation and specifically the quota status for sugar production, a large number of Member States expressed deep concerns at the upcoming abolition of the sugar quota by 2015 and asked for its extension until 2020. An equally large number of Member States asked to maintain the Council decisions to end the sugar quota in 2015, while a small number of delegations had more flexible positions.
Proposed Rural Development Regulation moving forward
During the discussion regarding the proposed Regulation on Rural Development, Member States had the opportunity to outline the main issues they consider outstanding and thus in need of further negotiation. The discussion led to the conclusion that during the Cyprus Presidency, the review of the proposed Regulation has moved forward significantly.
The main issues that appeared in need of further negotiation are the delineation of areas with natural disadvantages, risk management, investments in irrigation and the simplification of the procedures to approve Rural Development Programmes, regarding state aid.
Despite this, the Member States noted that due to the fact that no agreement was reached on the Multiannual Financial Framework and also because a significant reduction was proposed on the CAP budget, they cannot take any position on this matter, which is linked with the size of the budget.
Cyprus’ Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, Mr Sofoclis Aletraris, who chaired the Council, stated after the end of the meeting:
“The negotiations for the future of the CAP are at a very critical stage. We must all understand that we need to act quickly if we want to have a new framework ready before the beginning of the new programming period”.
The Ministers of Agriculture were also updated on the expenditure on Rural Development and the efforts that must take place in order to improve the effectiveness of this expenditure, by the European Commission.
Telephone: +32 27404002
Mobile: +32 473858237
Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment
Agriculture and Fisheries
Telephone: +357 22408333
Watch the press conference here
Find more related photos here