International conference CAP: PAST AND FUTURE

The Common Agricultural Policy is among the strongest EU policies by virtue of its impact not only on the farming community, but also on all citizens of the European Union”, stated Mrs. Svetlana Boyanova, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, at international conference „CAP: Past and Future”. The event took place on 26th-27th June 2012 in Sofia under the patronage of Mr. Miroslav Naydenov, Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Republic of Bulgaria. Deputy Minister Boyanova emphasized the fact that the Bulgarian position is in support of a strong policy, combined with its proper financing, as the policy not only supplies food, but also provides employment and protects the environment. She paid attention to the need of flexibility in introducing the mandatory “green” component of the future CAP, taking into consideration the specifics of each member-state. The introduction of that kind of direct payment should be conducted in a manner providing for optimum environmental benefits, without posing a threat on the sector’s viability. In her opinion, “the application of a “green” component has good logical grounding, but the proposed 30% share under Pillar 1 and 25% under Pillar 2 is too high and calls for a more flexible approach. Mrs. Boyanova explained that this would ensure a more effective targeting of the aid and spending of funds.

Mr. Mihail Dumitru, Director Rural Development Programmes at DG Agriculture & Rural Development emphasized that the possibility of simplifying CAP is subject to a debate. “We aim at providing more simple rules, aid distribution system and access to the resources for the next period”.

Much interest was attracted by the CAP vision statements of the member-states participant in the project. Mr. Jaanus Heinsar, representative of the Estonian ministry of Agriculture declared his country’s great concern with the varying direct-payment rates between the member states, adding that there is sometimes a difference as big as 5 times. The Estonian government’s position is that direct payments to Estonian farmers shall be increased to 90% of the EU average.

Mrs. Maria Aguas, representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Spatial Planning of Portugal shared that CAP proves to be a very important instrument.

Mrs. Marisa Marmara, authorized by the Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs of Malta, presented the position of her country on the CAP reform. On the issue of direct payments under Pillar 1, Mrs. Marmara pointed out that their rate is rather low compared to other countries. “We’d like to see more flexibility and possibilities for maneuvering between the two individual pillars, so that greater equality between the member-states could be achieved.

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