CAP Conference Sets the Scene for Reform Debate

European citizens will have a greater role in shaping the forthcoming reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) than in any previous revisions of the CAP judging by discussions at a major scene-setting conference in Brussels.

More than 600 delegates from across the EU met yesterday (Monday, 19 July) and today (Tuesday, 20 July) to discuss ongoing engagement with the public on the future of the CAP after 2013.   The initial web-based consultation on the role of the CAP saw 6000 responses received in a two-month period.   The web consultation, MEP George Lyon’s recent paper on CAP Reform and the outcomes from this conference will aid discussion before the European Commission produces its Communication on the future of the CAP, due for publication in November 2010.

Speaking from the Brussels conference, NFU Scotland Policy Director, Scott Walker said:

“Debate on the future delivery of publicly-funded support to European farmers through the CAP after 2013 is starting to gather momentum.   This huge conference has highlighted the importance of the wider debate to be had with the general public.  As taxpayers, they have a right to outline what they expect the CAP to provide.  As farmers, we know we have a good story to tell on what CAP support delivers but we also have a duty to better explain the many benefits it generates to the wider society.

“Europe’s Agricultural Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, has shown a willingness to engage with European citizens in developing the CAP of the future providing opportunity to demonstrate that the CAP is not just an agricultural sector policy, but a policy that genuinely benefits all European consumers.

“In the past, the public would have had an appreciation of the role of CAP in securing supplies of safe and affordable food while helping to underpin the incomes of farmers.  While that is something the general public continue to want, there is also a greater appreciation that the funds currently delivered via the CAP also provide a whole host of broader public goods that secure economic, environmental and social benefits. 

“As well as the public wanting the ongoing provision of safe food at affordable prices, responses to the survey also highlighted a desire for the CAP to do much more.   The lengthy wish list of benefits that the public wants to see CAP funding support in the future includes food security, sustainable use of land, biodiversity and vibrant rural communities.

“While the CAP currently delivers value for money, the public has to appreciate that maintaining or improving the delivery of all the benefits provided by the CAP in the future will come at a cost.   The debate on the future shape of the CAP is likely to be framed by wider discussions on the CAP budget, both in terms of the overall spend available and the allocation then provided to the individual Member States.”  

Notes to Editors

  • Approximately 600 delegates from all over the EU met in Brussels this week (19/20 July) to discuss the future of the Common Agriculture policy after 2013.
  • The conference sought to draw some conclusions from the web-based public debate on the CAP post-2013, launched by the Commission in April.   The Internet debate asked four very fundamental questions of: "Why do we need a CAP? What do citizens expect from agriculture? Why reform the CAP? What tools do we need for the CAP of tomorrow?"  It received almost 6000 responses in two months.
  • The Commission is drafting its Communication on the future of the CAP, due for publication in November 2010.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006



Date Published:

News Article No.: 110/10

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