Eu-EU agriculture ministers have agreed on a reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The agreement, which has been concluded for several years, will place greater emphasis on environmental protection. She welcomed the new agreement on environmental protection while ensuring that EU citizens are always able to “put food on the table”. Last week, the AGRIFISH Council and the European Parliament agreed on their negotiating mandates to enter the final phase of the process of approving the future CAP framework, paving the way for the trilogue process with the Commission to reach a final agreement on CAP legislation early next year. The new reform would come into force in 2023 and would include a two-year “learning phase.” But first, EU countries must agree on the rules with the European Parliament and the European Commission. Parliament votes on politics this week. Following the agreement on the CAP reform package at EU level, the 27 Member States will complete the development of the CAP`s national strategic plans and submit them to the European Commission for approval. The timetable has not yet been changed, but it is very likely that the CAP`s 27 strategic plans will come into force from January 2023. In the meantime, the CAP and its rural development policy will continue as usual. In June 2020, the Council and the COMAGRI negotiators reached a partially provisional political agreement on all the essential aspects of the Commission`s draft regulation to extend the CAP provisions beyond 2020 (I have discussed the Commission`s draft regulation to this effect). It was preceded by a decision by COMAGRI to start negotiations with the Council without first seeking to adopt a position of Parliament at first reading on the basis of its legislative report adopted in May 2020. While most of the provisions of the CAP Direct Payments Regulation would apply as long as the CAP remains in force, the transitional regulation is necessary to create a legal basis for other CAP expenditures after 1 January 2021. In the coming months, the three EU co-legislators will negotiate an agreement at EU level.
The European Commission can propose changes or withdraw the CAP. However, if the European Commission surrenders and the Council of the EU and Parliament insist on approving a “let-do” CAP incompatible with the EU-Greens agreement, there is little hope of higher ambitions and all attention is focused on the difficult negotiations on the CAP`s strategic plans at national level. In 1962, the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund was established to provide funds for CAP market rules.  A year later, the Fund was split into two institutions, the guaranteed market and price support component and the “guidelines” part providing structural aid.  A 1964 EU regulation provided for detailed rules for the operation of the Fund, including the estimation of export refunds, the main Eu-market control instrument.  Market organizations had been introduced for most agricultural products until the end of the decade.  A 1966 agreement facilitated the completion of the internal agricultural market (which came into force a year later), a single price support system and uniform protection against imports from third countries.  Hallstein hailed the agreement as the most important step in the construction of European unity, as it contributed to the completion of the CAP.  Many aspects of the European Council`s conclusions warrant an analysis: the agreement that, for the first time, the EU can go into debt to finance a recovery plan to deal with the disastrous economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic; future links between EU financial transfers to third countries and the rule of law; Framing additional own resources for years to come; the continued importance of budget cuts and the extent to which the final result has managed to “modernise” the budget to reflect the EU`s new priorities.