The future of the CAP after 2013

The post-2013 future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be debated at the Informal Meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers in Mérida chaired by Elena Espinosa, the Spanish Minister for the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs.

This meeting will focus on economic growth, employment, food safety and green growth, and analyse the relationship between agriculture, the Common Agriculture Policy and the economic challenges addressed in the EU-2020 Strategy.

The European delegations headed by the agriculture ministers of the twenty-seven Member States arrived in Mérida on Sunday afternoon and will visit agriculture-sector companies and farms this Monday. On Tuesday, 1 June, the agriculture ministers will hold a work meeting, after which a press conference will be held.

The Spanish Presidency of the EU holds that it is essential to maintain a strong CAP and improve coordination and governance by means of additional national and community policies and initiatives, in order to establish the foundations for a food and agriculture sector which is well established at regional level, competitive, and which will hold a leadership position in a globalised economy, while harnessing the potential for intelligent, comprehensive and sustainable growth.

The working paper to be debated in Mérida proposes that the agriculture-related challenges be dealt with in conjunction with those posed by the general economy, while using the policy options and pathways for growth set forth in the EU-2020 Strategy as guidelines for action.

In this context, the Spanish Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Water, Josep Puxeu, underscored the opportunities and possibilities provided by this Strategy in terms of ensuring growth, improving competitiveness and increasing employment in the agriculture sector.

In his address to the Spanish Joint Committee of members of the lower and upper chambers of the Spanish Parliament on the EU 2014-2020 budgetary framework and its impact on CAP reforms, Puxeu indicated last Tuesday that the incorporation of the CAP and the agriculture sector into the Strategy will benefit agriculture, in addition to reinforcing community policy in the future.

Josep Puxeu underscored that the CAP’s cost is reasonable both in relative and absolute terms, and that it must be adequately funded if its objectives are to be achieved, according to a communication by the Spanish Ministry for the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs.

He stressed that the next CAP reform should be consistent with European efforts to recover from the economic crisis and with the priorities sought in the context of the 2020 Strategy.

To this effect, he asserted that the CAP must be based on a direct aid scheme, on crisis and market management instruments, and on rural development.

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