The conference on CAP post-2013 will be held on Brussels

Delegates from all over the EU will come to Brussels to discuss the future of the Common Agriculture Policy after 2013. This Conference will debate and draw some form of conclusions on the post-2013 launched by the Commission, based on the four 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?"

The call for this public debate was done on April, and now this CAP conference will form a useful platform for discussion before the Commission drafts its Communication on the future of the CAP. Besides, there will be a Fair in the centre of Brussels (Place St Catherine) highlighting the diversity of Europe's quality agriculture products, where each member states will have a stand offering some of their national specialities to the general public.

The Public debate

The Commission will hold a public debate on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy, asking for responses from the general public to the 4 questions mentioned above. There were more than 1000 responses from Germany & Poland, but there were also more than 100 from France, Latvia, Austria, Spain, Belgium, UK and Ireland. A summary of the contributions, received from the general public, stakeholders and think tanks, will be presented to the Conference but the main thrust of the responses was as follows:

  • Why do we need a common agricultural policy? To guarantee the food supply, to ensure fair competition conditions between farmers, the food industry and distributors. Another main point was preserving the diversity of agriculture throughout the EU territory.
  • What do citizens expect from agriculture? The main expectations emerging from the public debate are providing safe food at affordable prices, sustainable use of land, keeping the rural communities vibrant.
  • Why reform the CAP? To address the volatility of food prices and assure decent living standards for Europe's farmers. Also to contribute to addressing the challenge of feeding the world, strengthen our capacity to deal with problems linked to the environment, to quality and food safety; improve the competitiveness of agriculture and conserve the rich landscape that is our common heritage.
  • What tools do we need for the CAP of tomorrow? There is agreement that we need to develop further our existing mechanisms. Some urge an increased emphasis on paying farmers for providing "public goods" especially linked to the protection and maintenance of the environment.

The conference will start with a summary of contributions to the public debate, details of a new EUROBAROMETER study on citizens' attitude to the CAP, and then a panel discussion with different experts of various issues raised. Also, there will be workshops related to food security, the future of rural society, environment & the provision of public goods by agriculture, and quality, diversity, & health. Then, the ideas raised on these workshops will be consider. There will then be further workshops relating to maintaining food production capacity, maintaining the diversity of rural society, ensuring the provision of public goods by agriculture, and promoting quality & diversity of food supply. Finally, some conclusions from the discussions will be drawn.