CAP reform a dress rehearsal?
The CAP reform could simply be a dress rehearsal for a further reform, suggested David Baldock of the Institute for European Environmental Policy at a seminar of the Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum in London last week. The reform could serve as a means of showing which issues we had to get serious about. The reform had been a rush, it didn't have a finished feel about it. This was a widespread perception in Europe. What was needed was a credible mid-term review.
What was good about the reform was that the public goods idea survived in the CAP. It also couldn't be a one size fits all policy. On the downside, there had been a loss of the commitment to transparency and simplicity. There was a theoretical possibility of reverse modulation.
On the greening measures, it was quite difficult to see what was going to change on permanent pastures. The Ecological Focus Areas had changed greatly from original proposal. The idea covered much less than had been originally envisaged. Cross-compliance entailed a softening of the regime in some directions. Protecting carbon rich soils, the most innovative idea, had been lost.
The last Mid-Term Review was in the Fischler reforms and, as Baldock noted, the then Commissioner had created a platform and had worked to create relationships with heads of government and ministers. My question would be whether anyone around today possesses Fischler's adroit skills.