EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about CAP reform priorities was published by EurActiv on 21st September 2010.

While the future budget of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is still unclear, growing rhetoric around the concepts of “public goods” and “green growth” suggest that at least some of the money could be shifted to protecting the environment and boosting rural economies.

The ongoing debate over the CAP’s future is taking place in a broader context than previous reforms.

First, as farm policy still eats up the largest share of the EU budget – at around 40% – the upcoming overhaul is closely linked to the revision of the bloc’s financial perspectives for the 2014-2021 period.

The reform is also taking place amid discussions over how to recover from the economic crisis and deal with climate change and the increasing volatility of world commodity markets, some of which are being tackled in the bloc’s ‘Europe 2020’ strategy for growth and jobs.

According to the European Commission, the CAP is likely to be adjusted to ‘Europe 2020’ goals on promoting a more competitive economy that fosters higher employment, social and territorial cohesion.

In addition, the CAP’s contribution to environmental challenges, in particular the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as boosting resource efficiency, water management and bio energy, “are expected to be reinforced,” the Commission says.

While talks on the size of the CAP’s budget will inevitably tend to dominate negotiations, EU Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolo? has repeatedly underlined the need to figure out the new policy’s priorities first before talking about money.

The floor is thus open for all parties to argue their case in a drive to grab some of the EU money that is potentially going to be freed up by shifting priorities.

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