The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a contract between the farmers and citizens of Europe; for over 60 years, it has guaranteed food security for our people by guaranteeing our family farmers a fair income for their work. EU Agriculture and related sectors employ approximately 44 million people – making this the largest employer in the EU. Through our system of Direct Payments and Rural Development Policy, the CAP directly supports the creation of jobs and growth in rural areas. It is also a dynamic, living policy, which evolves to reflect the societal priorities of the day. We are now entering another period of evolution for the CAP. The EU Commission believes we need a simpler and more modern policy which works better for both our farmers and society as a whole. Our farmers want simpler, more effective policy supports; while our citizens want a CAP which delivers real results in a broader range of areas, such as the environment, climate, and rural job creation. For this reason, the Commission recently published a Communication outlining our policy vision for the CAP post 2020. I believe this document strikes the right balance and presents a realistic and ambitious direction of travel for our food and farming sector.
In 2018, the European Commission will make legislative proposals for the CAP post-2020, as well as for the next EU budget (2020-2027). We will also propose new laws to improve the position of our farmers on the EU food chain. I am calling on all agri-food stakeholders, rural policymakers and concerned citizens to support our plans for an upgraded, strong and well-funded CAP. In return, we plan to support the wellbeing of our farming and food sector for the coming decade, while delivering more benefits for all Europeans.