Ministers to review CAP progress
Agriculture ministers from the European Union’s member states will discuss on Wednesday (19 December) what progress they have made on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. But they need talks on the EU’s long-term budget for 2014-20 to be wrapped up before they can continue with meaningful discussions on the CAP.
Cyprus, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU’s Council of Ministers, will give a progress report on the CAP talks so far. In the past six months, there have been debates on, among other issues, support measures in exceptional circumstances, intervention prices, and direct payments for ‘greening’ measures.
It will be up to Ireland, which takes over the Council presidency on 1 January, to seek agreement on the CAP after the budget talks are completed, but there are fears that the talks may still be going on when Lithuania takes over the presidency for the second half of 2013.
The European Commission will brief the ministers on recommendations from a high-level group of experts on whether to prolong restrictions on the planting of vines that, under a reform agreed in 2008, are due to expire in 2015. From that date, producers will be able to increase their production. But a number of member states have called for the continuation of the restrictions beyond 2015.
Ministers will also be briefed on a declaration signed by a number of central and eastern European member states asking that ‘coupled support’ – linking payments to the production of a specific product – be included in the new CAP. This would enable them to allocate more than 10% of funds, the current limit, for coupled direct support.