Friday, June 07, 2013

CAP reform process hits new snags

Despite the relatively optimistic mood at the recent 'informal' Farm Council in Dublin, the CAP reform process has hit new snags which suggest that a deal may not be reached under the Irish presidency.It appears that a resolution to the EU’s CAP reform process could be delayed further beyond the end-of-June target date, after the European Parliament threatened to veto any deal over member states’ refusal to budge on certain issues, reports Agra Europe.

Parliament agriculture committee chair Paolo De Castro this week slammed the European Council for its approach to the recent ‘trilogue’ discussions on the issue, claiming their approach goes against the "spirit" of the Lisbon Treaty, which granted MEPs equal say on farm policy under the ‘Ordinary Legislative Procedure’. MEPs want to reach a deal by the end of June – when the Irish Presidency ends and the Lithuanian Presidency begins – but this will not happen unless all subjects are up for negotiation and the Parliament's views are heard, De Castro stressed in an impassioned speech this week.

De Castro is just the latest agriculture official to express his public frustration at the drawn out negotiations on CAP reform and perhaps calls into question the suitability of the co-decision procedure in reaching an agreement on this policy, something which has concerned me for some time.

Enhanced co-decision making has been defended as injecting greater legitimacy into the EU institutions, as directly elected MEPs should in theory increase the democratic input of European citizens, and thereby lead to improved legislation. But then according to one recent poll, over 50 per cent of British voters do not know they elect members of the European Parliament. In any case the process appears to have been the victim of growing euroscepticism across the bloc, as well as the austerity agendas of certain member states.

The CAP reform process appears to have hit a brick wall and unless there is a dramatic breakthrough at the ‘trilogue’ talks in the next couple of weeks, the Luxembourg Farm Council on June 24/25 – when it was hoped a CAP reform agreement would finally be signed, sealed and delivered – could turn into a damp squib. Some member states have said they may not even bother to turn up.

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