Overview: Ministry of Rural Affairs held an event on CAP reform

It is easy to nag at public participation events organised by the authorities but I shall skip this part this time. While one can always do earlier, more and better, this event was by and large rather well organised. Quite a diverse crowd of “stake-holders” was present and the Ministry presented past, present and discussions of the future of the CAP reasonably well.

Discussions were held at four groups one of which was dedicated to the environmental issues in agriculture. Since there were not many environmentalists present, I had of course to go there. The participation was actually quite active.

Not surprisingly the voices were diverse and some of the problems voiced actually connected to other policies. This is to be expected however – CAP is so complicated that not so many people understand how it works. In spite of many differences there was actually high level of consensus regarding importance of agricultural biodiversity, landscapes, pollination, needs to protect soils and water. Bureaucratic problems faced by organic farming and the need to maintain diversity of agricultural production were highlighted as well.

In the afternoon session the major stake-holders were invited to present their views, starting with the farmers organisations, followed by the environmental, non agricultural rural entrepreneurs, rural networks and scientists. I had the honour of presenting the environmental view.

In spite of tight time-schedule it was possible to present the main points. CAP needs radical change, since the current direct payment system is not fair to many farmers, it does not support agricultural biodiversity and does not help to address the environmental problems in agriculture – quite to the contrary, as seen from the reliable correlation between the nitrogen balance and the subsidies.

Author: Aleksei Lotman, ELF


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