Friday, July 12, 2013

Challenges remain for Lithuanian presidency

EU agriculture ministers will meet in Brussels for the first time under the Lithuanian Presidency on Monday (July 15) and for the first time since an agreement on most aspects of CAP reform for 2014-2020 was reached by the EU institutions, reports Agra Europe. Vilnius began work on July 1, after being passed the torch by Dublin, who garnered wide praise after largely concluding the CAP reform package. But the Lithuanian Presidency, in it’s maiden term in the position, will have to oversee certain parts of the reform that were still up for debate when the deal was reached last month.

As part of their mandate, the new presidency will need to seek progress on the remaining issues left out of the reform agreement, which include the ‘degressivity’ proposal, co-financing and rural development. They will need to seek a compromise with Parliament, which is irked by the Council’s resistance to negotiate on the positions taken by heads of government on the 2014-2020 ‘multiannual financial framework’ (MFF). MEPs maintain that it is their legal right to have an equal say under the Lisbon Treaty.

Lithuania continues to affirm that member states will not be willing to re-open negotiations on CAP reform with respect to the recently approved budget. Monday’s meeting of EU agriculture leaders should shed some light on what, if anything, the Council is willing to do to appease MEPs, Agra Europe predicts.

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