The 12-week public consultation on the EU’s CAP Agriculture and Food Policy after 2020 has been launched by the commissioner for agriculture and rural development, Phil Hogan.
The public consultation allows farmers, citizens, organisations and any other interested parties to have their say on the future of the CAP.
It takes the form of a questionnaire covering policy priorities.
Mr Hogan will follow up with a conference in July. After consultation and an impact assessment, to gather the available evidence on the CAP so far, Mr Hogan will present a communication on the future CAP in November, setting out current performance and further policy options.
Why look into the CAP so soon after the previous reform?
Two different unforeseen developments explain this. First, the realisation that the complexity of the final legislation left all parties involved dissatisfied with the final result — thus the need for CAP simplification.
Secondly, the rapid change of the broader environment surrounding EU agriculture — thus the need for CAP modernisation.
What are the building blocks leading up to the current public consultation?
The Cork 2.0 Conference on Rural Development last September established a joint stakeholder vision for the future of rural areas, and recommendations on how to implement it.
The latest outlook for EU dairy, meat and arable crop markets for the next 10 years was also presented and discussed.
The Civil Dialogue Group of 72 representatives from farming associations, the food industry, traders and environmental NGOs is expected to be the main forum for discussion throughout the consultation.
The recommendations of the agricultural markets taskforce, including a call for unfair trading practices, will provide further input.
What if the consultation throws up entirely different priorities?
While it is likely that many of the concerns highlighted will continue to be prominent, other concerns may emerge. The public consultation process is designed to inform the proposals that the commission will ultimately make.
What if one stakeholder group is over or under represented in the consultation?
The consultation is open to all interested parties. Respondents will be asked to share information about themselves and where they work, so it will be easy to see the spectrum of responses.
Why are you limiting the questionnaires to closed questions?
The essential objective is to capture as many responses from as wide a range of respondents as possible.
That is best achieved by asking the type of questions in the questionnaire. The questionnaire includes both closed and open questions, in particular on objectives, modernisation and simplification. It specifically invites respondents to include a submission, such as a position paper, of up to five pages, with no restrictions. Various interest groups can be expected to make specific and quite detailed submissions, and these will also be a welcome contribution to the consultation process.
Why is it only online ? What about those who do not have internet access (a big issue in rural areas)?
An online questionnaire allows the widest possible response.
However, the commission is always happy to receive spontaneous contributions concerning the future CAP by mail.
How can you talk about reforming the CAP when you do not know what the budget is going to be?
This process is about first answering the policy-related questions: Why, for whom, what and how.
How much will come in at a later stage.
If you are reforming the CAP again, does this mean all previous reforms, and particularly the last one, have failed?
The commission consulting on the future of the CAP does not mean that the last reform was a failure, or that it has already made its mind up on how to improve the policy in the future.
It is rather as a response to the significant changes that have occurred since 2013. Market uncertainties have increased, the EU has signed new international agreements, in particular on climate change and sustainable development.
Is this CAP reform driven by the prospect of the UK leaving the EU, and by other challenges to the CAP budget?
The reform process will focus on specific policy priorities without prejudice to the financial allocations for the CAP, and any possible impact of the UK leaving the EU, or other challenges.
The aim is to modernise and simplify the CAP and to maximise its contribution.
Will the future CAP see proper capping of payments?
It is too early to comment on the direction that a new CAP might take.
However this measure is a feature of Option 5, and will therefore be analysed.
Why does the questionnaire not include any specific questions on greening?
Environmental protection and goals run through the questionnaire, so we do not accept that greening is not addressed.
It is less than a year since we undertook a full public consultation related only to the green direct payment. The responses received will be taken fully into account as part of our current work.
In addition, an independent evaluation on the green direct payment is ongoing and will be finalised later this year.
* This public consultation is open until May 2, 2017. To take part, go to https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/consultations/cap-modernising/2017_en
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