One Size is not fit for all in reformed CAP

Speaking at the meeting of Agriculture Committee Chairpersons on the reform of the CAP
in Warsaw this week, Andrew Doyle TD stressed that it is essential that each Member State
maintains flexibility in deciding how to distribute payments and he has warned against an over
simplified approach to the distribution of CAP funding.

“Newer EU Member States tend to have lower single farm payment entitlements and are anxious
to have a more uniformed or flat rate payment model in place. Addressing the session, I made the
point that by simply moving to a flat-rate system to improve the overall disposable farm income in
these countries, while not addressing other factors that affect returns to farmers is a mistake. The
inequity in the food chain due to dominance of large retailers is one major issue that needs to be
tackled at EU as well as national level.

“Furthermore by simply flattening the rate, competitiveness in all States will suffer. Production in
the States that had higher payments will become unviable and the cost base in the newer States
will simply rise to “catch up” with the increased income stream.

“The key here is preserving disposable farm income and I believe the fundamental objective of
the exercise must be based on this principle.

“The meeting provided a balanced overview of the concerns of all stakeholders in the EU member
States in light of new CAP arrangements post 2013. Amongst others, we heard from the local
Minister of Agriculture, the Director General of DG Agriculture (EU Agriculture Commission)
and the President of COPA, the European farm organisation. All agreed with the three core
strategic aims of ensuring optimum food production in the EU, promoting sustainable use of natural
resources and securing the future of viable rural communities.

“Other areas of common agreement were reduction in bureaucracy, that funds would be targeted
at active farmers and recognition was given to the necessity for young trained farmers to be able to
pursue a viable career in farming.

“The re-negotiation of the CAP in an enlarged EU is a challenging process. The debate needs to
consider all factors that will allow European Agriculture develop along the principles as set out by
the Commission. The Commissioners announcement on 12th October will give a clearer insight as
to how he plans to achieve these aims and will no doubt be the subject of much further debate and
discussion.”