This Monday the EU agriculture ministers formally exchanged views for the first time on the Commission’s proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 in a meeting chaired by Bulgarian Minister for Agriculture Rumen Porodzanov. The outcome of the debate will give guidance to the experts discussing the technical aspects of the proposal, who have already begun to examine it under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council and will continue to do so in the months to come.
Ministers also had the opportunity today to react to the Commission’s proposal for a new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) worth €6.14 billion for investments in the maritime economy and support for fishing communities.
The future of the EU´s CAP has been central to the work of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council in the area of agriculture. For the first three months of its Presidency, Bulgaria worked to bring member states together and enable them to agree on a common position to feed into the Commission’s work on the proposal. As a result, in March the Presidency adopted conclusions on the future of the CAP and submitted them to the Commission for consideration.
In the second half of its Presidency, Bulgaria continued to steer the debate on this topic. At the beginning of June, during their informal meeting in Sofia, the Commission gave EU agriculture ministers a glimpse of the Commission proposal in an informal presentation. Today, they have had a fully-fledged formal presentation and an initial debate on its substance.
Ministers welcomed various elements of the proposals but expressed concerns about the cutsproposed by the Commission to the CAP budget in general and rural development in particular, and were sceptical as to the capacity of the new CAP to deliver genuine simplification for national authorities and farmers. The full debate is available online here.