Brussels Daily
21 Nov 2018


Brussels Daily

Agriculture MEPs debated draft reports and Court of Auditors’ views

  • Draft report on strategic plans: 448 amendments 
  • Draft report on common market organisation rules: 109 amendments 
  • Draft report on financing, management and monitoring of the CAP: 80 amendments 

The first set of amendments to the Commission’s plans for the EU’s farm policy reform, authored by three EP rapporteurs, were debated by the Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.

The string of debates linked to the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform kicked off in the morning. MEPs first debated the proposed update of the draft financing, management and monitoring rules with rapporteur Ulrike Müller (ALDE, DE) and then the strategic plans amendments tabled by rapporteur Esther Herranz García (EPP, ES).

In the afternoon, the committee discussed the opinion of the European Court of Auditors on the Commission’s CAP reform proposals with its member João Figueiredo and Commissioner Phil Hogan. The debate on ways to improve the draft common market organisation rules with rapporteur Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR) followed immediately afterwards.

Financing, management and monitoring of the CAP

The rapporteur on the Financing, management and monitoring rules Ulrike Müller (ALDE, DE) said:

“My report aims to set up a legislative framework that simplifies and modernises the CAP management and control system and improves its implementation. It clarifies competences of governance bodies and adjusts reporting obligations to avoid additional red tape.”

“We need an independent, well-targeted and adequately funded crisis mechanism, but it needs to focus solely on crisis, not on market management, and be financed both from within and outside of the CAP budget.”

“Member states should be allowed to exempt from administrative penalties farmers receiving less than €1.250, with eligible area of up to 10ha. Controls should be reinforced, made more risk-based and rely more on technology such as satellite data. Repeated non-compliance should lead to higher penalties.”

“The basic law should specify requirements linked to the farm advisory system to ensure that beneficiaries all across the EU have access to it. I also suggest to revise some of Commission’s empowerments to ensure a democratic oversight of the new CAP.”

The draft report on the Financing, management and monitoring rules is available here.

MEPs highlighted in the debate the importance of farm advisory services and discussed the proposed performance measuring. Many also focused on ways to boost crisis reserve and stressed that penalties should not punish farmers for minor random administrative errors.

The video-recording of the debate is available here (starting at 09:36).


Strategic plans

The rapporteur on the draft Strategic plans regulation Esther Herranz García (EPP, ES) said:

“The proposed reform represents a radical paradigm shift. I do not question the philosophy of the strategic plans model, but to avoid market distortions we must strike a proper balance between the common framework and the need to grant member states leeway to adapt EU rules to their needs”.

“As designing and managing new strategic plans will not be easy, I propose postponing their implementation until 2023. This would also prevent delays in payments “.

“The new CAP must continue to ensure an adequate income for EU farmers and this means no budget cuts.”

“The new ecological regime requires an update to avoid negative effect on farmers’ income and the proposed environmental performance bonus should be scrapped as it does not boost funds for best but penalises those who fail to deliver the best.”

“The rules for redistribution of direct payments should be defined at the EU level but they should also give member states more flexibility in the way they use the capped payments. We also need to better support young farmers, new entrants and women in rural areas.”

The draft report on the Strategic plans regulation is available here.

MEPs focused in the debate on ways to improve the proposed architecture of environmental measures to ensure they deliver tangible results, discussed various approaches to capping of direct payments, called for further support for young and new farmers, highlighted the need for further internal and external convergence and stressed that EU money should go to genuine farmers. While several MEPs criticised the so-called new delivery model as such, many insisted that to avoid market distortions, the CAP must not be re-nationalised and the main aspects of the policy must remain common.

The video-recording of the debate is available here (starting at 10:39).

Common market organisation

The rapporteur on the Common market organisation rules Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR) said:

“While the EU Commission proposed a simple administrative reform with no improvement of the economic part of the CAP, I demand a thorough one that would respond to climate, environmental and farmers’ income challenges – a real overhaul of the rules to strengthen market regulation and to help farmers deal with price volatility and downstream concentration”.

“We need an effective framework for crisis prevention and management. This includes holding the Commission accountable by setting a performance framework to make it act in times of crisis, extending the system of voluntary production reduction to all sectors in crises, and expand the supply management rules for quality products beyond the geographically protected cheese, ham and wine”.

“The scheme of authorisations for vine plantings should be extended beyond 2030, with a mid-term review in 2023 to allow stakeholders to express themselves. I also propose mandatory labelling of the energy value of wines and the list of ingredients. Consumers have a right to know what they eat and drink”.

The draft report on the Common market organisation rules is available here.

MEPs in the debate supported the rapporteur’s call for a greater market transparency and discussed ways to strengthen market instruments, crisis measures and the role of producer organisations. They also debated proposals related to wine labelling, planting authorisations, de-alcoholised wines and geographical indications, some also focused on ways to help outermost regions and to balance the supply chain.

The video-recording of the debate is available here (starting at 16:19).

EU Court of Auditors’ views on the CAP reform

The opinion of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on the CAP reform proposals, presented by its member João Figueiredo, triggered a heated debate with Commissioner Phil Hogan and MEPs. Many parliamentarians defended the role direct payments play in the CAP and while some supported the Commission’s idea to make the policy more devolved, others agreed with the ECA that the future CAP must be made more accountable and performance-based.

The video-recording of the debate is available here (starting at 14:39).

Next steps

MEPs have now until 3 December to table their own amendments to the draft regulations. These will then have to be translated into EU’s 23 languages. Political groups will thereafter start negotiations on compromise amendments to facilitate the vote, which is, for the moment, indicatively foreseen for the 18 – 19 February.


MEPs laid out their position on the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform in a resolution the European Parliament adopted on 30 May. The future EU farm policy must be smarter, simpler, fairer and more sustainable, they said. But they rejected any “renationalisation” of the CAP and insisted on maintaining the CAP budget at its current level as a minimum.

In a debate with Commissioner Phil Hogan on 11 June, ten days after the EU’s executive revealed the legislative proposals for the post-2020 CAP, MEPs said that the draft reform plans lack ambition and a proper budgetary backing.

The CAP reform is closely linked to debates on the future EU’s long-term budget. Here, the Agriculture Committee firmly rejected any cuts in the post-2020 funding of the CAP.

The final wording of the new CAP laws will be co-decided by the Parliament and the Council.


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