CAP Health Check prospects for 2013 regarding food and environment issues

CAP Seminar, Thursday 12 June 2008

Marek Poznanski, 16 June 2008

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Since the Common Agriculture Policy was overhauled in 1992 to create a system of direct payments as a means of offsetting falling prices, it has undergone several additional reforms. The CAP is currently the object of a "health check" which should culminate at the end of
2008 in the maintenance of an income support system and the dismantling of the market management systems. The health check organizes a progressive renationalization of the CAP and moves more and more away from a key element in the building process of the EU construction In addition to the health check there are two other important deadlines. In 2009 the EU will review its budget - of which the CAP accounts for almost half - and in 2013 the CAP will be scrutinized in its entirety.
The Food Sovereignty Platform wants to preserve the CAP and improve it to meet society’s needs and expectations. Is the health check going in this direction? The Food Sovereignty Platform wants to reinforce this debate in this international meeting.

Aims of the seminar

1. To examine the health check from the point of view of society’s needs.

2. To discuss the health check and the future of the CAP amongst European Civil Society Organisations.

3. To map out a strategy for action by the different stakeholders, on the basis of their commonalities. This strategy must take account of the agendas of the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament


- 9.00-9.15 General presentation of the program and aims of the seminar (PFSA)

- 9.15-9.35 The Health Check and its limitations - JF Sneessens, UCL, Belgium.

The Commission’s “heath check” is geared towards confirming the orientations adopted in 1992 and 2003. There is no global diagnosis, no impact analysis of previous reforms regarding decoupling and the abandonment of regulatory instruments. What are the risks of this trend? What are the external constraints? What are the possible evolutions? What could be the alternative health check?

- 9.35-9.45 Q&A

- 9.45-10.00 Society’s needs and the Health Check

The CAP needs to be realigned with society’s needs. This means considering the principal roles of agriculture, i.e. providing our food, contributing to the national and European economies, providing jobs, managing a large proportion of the land, managing natural resources and landscapes, as well as its impact on global food security and on other countries. Combining these roles is far from easy and cannot be achieved without proper discussion between the stakeholders.

- Gérard Choplin coordinator of European Farmers’ Coordination

- Philippe Pointereau environment expert Solagro (France).

- Laurent Paquin Fédération Nationale des Syndicats d’exploitants Agricoles (France).

- 10.30-11.00 Q&A

- 11.30-12.30 Importance of the market regulation instruments in the reform process

Agriculture cannot be left to "market forces", yet in the wake of the deregulation instigated by the Agreement on Agriculture (WTO) and previous reforms; the European Commission now intends to cut protective and regulatory instruments. We need to discuss these options and present arguments so that a choice can be made, free from the influence of ideology.

- Fabio Garavelli, Associazione Nazionale Giovani Agricoltori, ANGA (Italy).

- Alex Danau Collectif Statégie Alimentaire CSA - PFSA (Belgium)

- 14.00-16.45 Strategy and points of convergence at European level

The health check is being presented as a mid-term review but will be much further-reaching. It will need to second guess the effects of budgetary constraints, the completion of the Doha Round, the 2013 overhaul of the CAP, various price scenarios and the general public and
Politicians’ dissatisfaction with agricultural policy. To avoid being trapped in a reform process that precludes all other options, we urgently need alliances between European Civil Society Organisations and between Civil Society and those national governments with the best awareness of the vital role of agriculture.

- 14h00-14h20 Strategy of the French Presidency in the Council and Commission and the Strategy of European Civil Society Organizations (Samuel Ferret – RAD et PF française)

- 14h20-14h30 plenary comments

- 14h30-15h45 Multi-stakeholder, multisectoral, international working groups on strategies and issues.

The different working groups will look for convergence on the morning thematic and on future strategies.

- 16.15-16.45 Feedback from working groups

- 16.45-17.00 Points of convergence from the different working groups

- 17.00-17.30 Final discussions and conclusions

The seminar is intended for stakeholders concerned by agricultural issues, particularly farmers’ organisations, environmental organisations, consumer organisations, development NGOs.

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