On 1 June 2018, the European Commission presented proposals for a post-2020 common agricultural policy. By the end of June, Commissioner Phil Hogan and Commission officials had visited 27 member states and participated in 49 information events to talk to citizens and stakeholders about the future of the CAP. Topping the agenda were key aspects of the CAP reform, including its simplification and modernisation, its new way of working and its higher ambition on environmental and climate action.
This was also a chance for participants to ask questions, raise concerns and debate the merits of the proposed reform. From ministers to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), journalists, citizens and a wide variety of stakeholders, these information events drew in around 4,000 people keen to discuss the plans.
As for the European Commission, it was an important exercise to develop a better understanding of local-level priorities and pressing issues for the future of the CAP. People wanted to know, for example:
- Will there be enough time to prepare the CAP plans?
- Will the simplification of the new CAP reach farm-level?
- How can farmers deliver on higher environmental ambitions?
- What is the future of direct payments?
- Is there a risk of renationalisation of the CAP?
As well as in person, the conversation continued online through social media. From the launch of legislative proposals to the end of June the hashtag #FutureofCAP received over 10,000 mentions on Twitter, and was included in over 17,500 interactions.
Other information events are already planned for August and September.