EU farm policy must become fairer and less bureaucratic, according to the Agriculture Committee

In a debate with the Commissioner Dacian Cioloş on the CAP reform proposals, the Agriculture Committee agreed that the priority is to meet growing demand for secure supplies of high-quality food and at the same time step up competitiveness in the face of growing market pressures. MEPs also highlighted the need of a EU farm policy fairer and less bureaucratic.

The Agriculture Committee met with the Commissioner Dacian Cioloş in a debate in which the key subject to discuss was the CAP reform proposals made recently by the Commission. MEPs agreed that proposals to cap direct payments for bigger farms and a new requirement to set aside 7% of arable land will simply create a "huge bureaucratic monster". They also criticised the measure proposed of supporting farmers with "greening" measures, such as maintaining permanent pasture and crop diversification, but also set aside 7% of farming land. The proposal was unveiled by the Commission on 12 October and the package also includes a plan to cap direct payments to bigger farms receiving more than €150,000. Most of MEPs do not agreed with such measure, because the fear that capping would hurt small associations of farmers.

In addition, the Agriculture Committee also asked for a fairer distribution of EU funds. According to MEPs, there is an uneven distribution of EU funds among farmers in different Member States or even within the same country. MEPs also pointed out that the entire reform does not remove discrepancies where similar farms receive different levels of support, and stressing that the reform should bring more justice and more equality.

The decision on the reform package will be taken only once MEPs have received more information about how it is to be funded. They therefore asked that decisions on national budgets within the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) be taken as soon as possible. The European Parliament has already asked for an increase of the budget in July 2011. The reformed farm policy, closely linked to the new Multiannual financial framework, is to enter into force on 1 January 2014.