EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has rebuffed claims by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) that the time has come for a new CAP. The suggestion is made in a report launched by the RSPB and its associated global organisation Birdlife International: New challenges, new CAP
RSPB head of agriculture Gareth Morgan had the temerity to suggest that the CAP needs a far greater environmental element to retain its current budget: 'That means scrapping subsidies and, instead, rewarding farmers for measures to help tackle climate change, reverse widlife declines and improve water quality.'
But Fischer Boel was having none of it. She insisted that much of what the organisations were asking for was already being delivered by the CAP: 'You say you want a new CAP ... today's CAP has a huge number of "new" elements compared with a few years ago.' Of course there are significant new elements, but whether that amounts to a new policy is another matter altogether.
Fischer Boel went on to explain that the forthcoming 'health check' would provide scope for further refinement. But refinement is just what it is. As contributors to the CAP HealthCheck blog have pointed out, an opportunity is being missed to do some fundamental thinking about the objectives of the CAP and how they can be delivered. See: Health Check