CAP negotiations and a ‘super trilogue’: An update

Agriculture Ministers of the European Union met on 22-23 March to further discuss their position on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). With a ‘super trilogue’ scheduled tomorrow, Friday 26 March, EU institutions might strike a deal on key aspects of the Strategic Plans regulation, such as the green architecture.

Ministers remind CAP recommendations are “non legally binding”

The aim of the two-day Council meeting was to prepare for the ‘super trilogue’ on 26 March, intended to advancing the negotiations on the future CAP. The Portuguese Presidency is committed to concluding the CAP reform by May.

On Monday, EU AGRIFISH ministers, the ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Member States, reminded that the CAP recommendations published by the Commission last December are “non legally binding” and should rather be considered as guidance. Despite the Commission’s efforts to align the CAP with the European Green Deal, Member States are reluctant to increase their level of ambition through CAP funds.

IFOAM Organics Europe reaffirms that a strong link between the CAP and the Green Deal targets is crucial to use the Strategic Plans as an appropriate response to biodiversity, environmental and climate challenges.

Social conditionality in the new CAP?

Until now, the Council has been rather reluctant at introducing social conditionality to CAP payments, as proposed by the Parliament. But the Portuguese Presidency wants to push the pillar of social rights and its agri-component.

“I am sure that the new CAP will be the foundation for a fair and inclusive transition” declared Portuguese Agriculture Minister and Council Presidency chair Maria Do Céu Antunes.

Friday’s super trilogue: last chance for a greener CAP?

Key components of the green architecture have not been decided upon yet by co-legislators. Despite agreeing on the ‘no backsliding principle’, the European organic movement is concerned that on some aspects, Parliament or Council will try to water down the CAP’s environmental ambitions.

On conditionality, the Council is trying to reduce the scope of environmental standards, for example by adding “minimum protection” of wetlands (GAEC 2), or by re-introducing the concept of crop diversification (instead of crop rotation proposed by the Commission in GAEC 8).

The European Parliament, on the other hand, will defend its version of the Eco-scheme article, proposing they also “boost competitiveness” and “enhance economic performance”, whereas according to IFOAM Organics Europe, their main goal should be the remuneration of public goods.

Together with several environmental NGOs, we have written a letter to the Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, the Portuguese Presidency and EP rapporteurs. In this letter, we urge co-legislators to deliver an ambitious, green, and fair reform, by incorporating the objectives and targets of the Green Deal into the CAP. We also ask them to adopt adequate instruments to manage and regulate agricultural markets to limit overproduction and to increase the fairness and transparency of supply chains.

National Strategic Plans to be submitted before end 2021

Parallel to the trilogue negotiations, Member States are moving forward with their CAP National Plans and will submit their final version to the Commission within the next months. It will be of major importance that these plans put organic farming and sustainable agriculture at their core.

During the next weeks, IFOAM Organics Europe will work closely with its Interest Group of Organic Farmers (IGOF) to determine the general level of support for organic through national plans in different Member States.

For more information on the CAP and IFOAM Organics Europe’s work on this issue, please contact [email protected]. Please do note that we prioritise our members’ requests.

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