Friday, December 14, 2012

France determined to defend CAP budget

The EU budget for 2013 was finally signed off this week after the European Parliament approved a compromise agreement between member states that will give the CAP slightly less next year than was originally proposed by the European Commission, reports Agra Europe

CAP payments for 2013 will total €56.44 billion, a marginal increase from the current year but €350 million lower than what the Commission asked for. This leaves the Pillar One direct aid and market-related payment kitty at €43.93bn, up 0.13 per cent from this year, with the Pillar Two rural development budget set at €12.5bn - 3.38 per cent greater than in 2012.

On the subject of the next long term budget, France set out its stall against any cuts to the CAP budget for 2014-2020 and called for greater reductions from elsewhere in order to appease countries such as Sweden and the UK, who are fighting for greater reductions than are currently on the table. If the CAP is left inviolate, this would mean quite substantial cuts elsewhere, in particular in programmes that might do more to stimulate the growth of the European economy than the CAP.

As the biggest recipient of CAP funding within the EU, France is determined to pull back further funds into the agricultural budget after European Council President Herman Van Rompuy proposed a less drastic reduction of €17bn at the EU budget talks, softening on the €25bn he had earlier proposed.

But 'several billion' euros will still need to be restored to the budget if it is to satisfy France, the country’s European Affairs minister Bernard Cazeneuve told journalists at a European Parliament plenary session this week. But no specific amount to be recovered for the CAP is being aimed for, a spokesperson for the French Agriculture Ministry told Agra Europe.

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