The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee has approved a round of measures to update and reform the Common Agricultural Policy.
The proposals focused on improving farming policy across the EU in order to better meet the needs of both farmers and consumers; with specific attention paid to the new regulations governing common market organisation (CMO) pertaining to agricultural products, set to come into force in 2020.
Reforms detailed in the proposals included a measure to extend a scheme currently in place providing compensatory aid to dairy farmers who voluntarily limit their output during “severe market imbalances”, in order to stabilise prices, to all sectors of agriculture. If rewarding farmers for producing less is not fully effective in levelling prices, MEPs said, the European Commission should consider as a next step implementing levies on producers whose food deliveries increase.
MEPs recommended the EU establish a single observatory to oversee agricultural markets across all Member States, in order to boost the transparency of agricultural markets and enable the industry to prepare for market fluctuations. The observatory should cover a “wide range” of agricultural sectors, including cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats and wine; and should collate statistical data on production and supply, imports and exports, profits and prices.
Rapporteur Eric Andrieu said: “While farmers are facing significant income problems related to price volatility and the downstream concentration, the Commission proposed only very limited administrative reform, not reacting adequately to these problems. My goal is to create effective mechanisms to prevent and better manage agricultural crises, to effectively respond to price volatility, and to make sure farmers can benefit from a fairer and more stable income, which would allow them to invest more in the ecological transition that consumers are asking for. Like the EU, the CAP must be reformed to better respond to future challenges.”
The proposals approved by the Agricultural Committee will be examined by the European Parliament after May’s elections.