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Comments on the Common Agricultural Policy in the European Union

Marjorie JOUEN - Consultant for Notre Europe

Could you please present your structure, its special features, and its mission regarding the « European Unit » ?
Located in Paris, Notre Europe is a « think tank », or a powerhouse, dedicated to European issues. At the creation in 1996, a few months after the term of office of the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors wished to make of Notre Europe a working and research grouping. Its activities and comments would be freely available for people that may be interested in the European construction, in its difficulties and its reforms suggestions in debate. Lire_La_Suite

Could you please present your structure, its special features, and its mission regarding the « European Unit » ?
Located in Paris, Notre Europe is a « think tank », or a powerhouse, dedicated to European issues. At the creation in 1996, a few months after the term of office of the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors wished to make of Notre Europe a working and research grouping. Its activities and comments would be freely available for people that may be interested in the European construction, in its difficulties and its reforms suggestions in debate.

Today, our website (www.notre-europe.eu) mainly in English and in French presents what we do: studies, actuality notes, leading articles, conferences seminaries or symposiums we organize...
The president of Notre Europe is now Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa. The operational team is plurinational and is made of a dozen of researchers that sometimes ask for university staff to help them on difficult issues.
The motto « Think European Unit » has been chosen in order to express our ambitious point of view on European integration. Our work programme, organised according to 4 main lines, highlights our bias : the first axe « Europe visions » is dedicated to institutional topics and the European identity ; the second one « the European democracy in action » aims at exploring new democratical kinds that may make Europe closer from its citizens ; the third line « Cooperation, competition and solidarity » is focused on the economic and social field, included the regional development ; the fourth one « Europe and Mondial governance » is oriented on the regional integration dynamics in the rest of the world.




You are specialised notably in the Regional Policy, do you think that the Common Agricultural Policy Instruments (Leader, EAFRD...) enable to deal with the problematic of a rural development for 27? In which extend do they make it possible for European actors to face the new agricultural issues?


These are the two current questions that we discussed during a seminary organised in Prague with the CEFRES on the past October 29th. In fact, the 2008 year has confirmed the new challenges emergence for the CAP, such as food security disrupted by the prices increase and shortages, the biodiversity preservation, the contribution to the greenhouse effects reduction with biofuels production and the use of more extensive agricultural practices.
The check up of the CAP, actually in discuss in the Council of Agricultural Ministries, brings some keys solutions but it is still limited.
The objectives regarding the environmental respect and the rural development are not mentioned in the CAP founding texts that have not been modified for 50 years. That is why European rural areas have to face a double problematic. On one hand, their diversity has increased with the enlargement to 27: for example, the agricultural production and employment do not have the same importance; some areas risk to be deserted, whereas others are being repopulated. So, it would be necessary to have a complete range of instruments able to be adapted to various contexts and issues. From another hand, the rural areas have to apply for European Fundings not well coordinated, notably the EAFRD and the structural funds, but also instruments related to environment policy, energy, transports. It would be interesting to simplify their use, and to integrate them in national, regional and local rural development strategies.




According to you, which priorities would be in favour of the future review of the European budget? What should be place of the agricultural policy?



One year ago, the Commission has launched a big public consultation on future priorities for the European budget after 2013, because the past negotiations where difficult: the countries argued on the budget amount and the neat individual contributions level, avoiding the main question concerning content and policies.
Notre Europe has participated and highlighted the fact that we can't stigmatise policies, condemning the most important as the CAP or Cohesion Policy because there are former, in favour of others policies, supposed to deal with the new challenges such as globalisation, climatic change, energy etc. For each policy, it is important to check what could be the added value of a community contribution and the type of measure the most adapted, for example, a strict regulation, common rules, a sweet cooperation or fundings.

Finally, Notre Europe has spoken in favour of a global increase option of the budget and of the possibility for the Union to create new own resources (eco taxes, VAT or anything else).
As she still represents 40% of the European budget and as regions and agricultural productions benefit unequally of this policy, it is not surprising that the CAP is the target of whose that would like to limit the European budget. It will probably be necessary to review the agricultural policy and to find mechanisms in order to ensure that the supports to the farmers guarantee the price stability and the dietary security, in a sustainable process. Nevertheless, this policy is still a policy of future, which integral renationalization would probably cost more than today. The debate on the European budget is still opened, notably regarding the numerous uncertainties of the Political Agenda of the Union for 2009 related to the European Parliament Elections, the next Commission and the Treaty of Lisbon ratification.

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