Release of CAP report

2017 CAP launch2

On March 27st 2017, the RISE Foundation released a new piece of work on CAP: thinking out of the box – Further modernisation of the CAP – why, what and how? in front of a full room at the Residence Palace in Brussels.

The report was presented by its authors: Allan Buckwell, Alan Matthews, David Baldock and Erik Mathijs. Responding to the report were Nadia Calviño, Director General, Directorate General Budget, European Commission, Alan Jagoe, president of CEJA and Professor Harald Von Witzke, from the Humboldt University in Berlin. The event was chaired by Janez Potočnik, the RISE Foundation's chairman.

2017 CAP launch2

(from left to right: Alan Matthews, Erik Mathijs, David Baldock, Allan Buckwell and Janez Potočnik)

The report is the outcome of a Task Force of experienced CAP analysts brought together by the RISE Foundation to question the current European agricultural policy and provoke discussion on a more effective policy to assist farmers to rise to today’s global challenges.  In this report they discuss WHY we need reform, WHAT that reform could look like and HOW the reform process could be kick-started.

In the context of over-stretched resources especially soil, water and biodiversity, changes in climate which impair agricultural production, and greater volatility in farming conditions, it is essential that Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is further adapted. The status quo is unacceptable. The CAP must be modernised to help EU farming become a better-structured industry which is economically viable and environmentally sustainable.  Indeed, agriculture has a crucial role to play in addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring that European Union lives up to its commitments to these goals. 

The analysis laid out in this RISE Foundation report shows how the current CAP does not make best use of the considerable resources deployed to support land managers through the necessary transition.  The largest instruments of the CAP, the pillar 1 direct payments, which account for over 70% of CAP funds are ineffective, inefficient and inequitable.  It is suggested that these direct payments should be systematically reduced and resources switched to provide targeted assistance, including transitional adjustment assistance to help farmers adapt and rise to the specific challenges of improving productivity, resource efficiency and risk management and to pay farmers to provide specific environmental and other public goods.

The report argues that the two principal aspects of the CAP requiring the most attention are land management and risk management. Where land management is concerned, the greatest worry is that the current environmental standards are not being met. The report therefore proposes a redesigned, more integrated tiered structure of supports with clearer targets on the environmental outcomes sought. The core issue concerning risk management is that the present approach in the CAP towards market orientation has not gone far enough. Indeed the sheer scale of direct payment inhibits farmers from better mitigating the risks they face.  The report outlines the full range of instruments that are most appropriate for managing risk at the farm level, market level and nationally at times of catastrophic risk.

Finally, following the lessons that have been learnt from previous successful reforms, the report suggests some procedural changes to kick-start a more effective reform process which brings together more constructively the conflicting interests in agricultural policy.

The slides from the event can be downloaded here: slides CAP launch

Read here a complete report of the CAP launch event.

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