The Twenty-Seven have finally found a compromise ground to plant the seeds of an agricultural consensus. The agreement on the future common agricultural policy (CAP), which will come into force in 2023, negotiated by MEPs and member states of the European Union (EU), was formalized on Friday 25 June. To say that the discussions were laborious would be an understatement. The main lines of the project were already unveiled in 2018 by the Commission. A last round of tough negotiations, at the end of May, had even ended in failure. The rules intended to “green” European agriculture and the question of a fairer distribution of aid have concentrated the opposition.
The project put on the table presented a change in philosophy compared to the current situation, making the CAP less community-based. As a sign of this “renationalization”, each country must present to the Commission a national strategic plan (PSN), a local version of the CAP, with, as a result, the distribution of European aid in each territory. This amounts to 386 billion euros over seven years, including 270 billion in direct aid to farmers. For France, the quota amounts to 62 billion euros.
If, in 2020, the adoption of the budget, maintained at its current level, had been unanimously welcomed, dissensions over its use quickly took shape. With, on the one hand, COPA-Cogeca, the umbrella European agricultural union, represented in France by the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA), in favor of a status quo. And, on the other, multiple NGOs campaigning for an ecological and social transition of European agriculture.
With its Green Pact, setting the course for carbon neutrality in 2050, broken down into “From farm to fork” and “Biodiversity 2030” strategies, Brussels has, for its part, set strong ambitions for the transformation of agriculture towards a more environmentally friendly model. They are reflected in a new tool, called “eco-diet”. This premium pays farmers who adopt demanding environmental programs. Finally, the agreement sets at 25% of all direct aid to farmers the amount of aid conditional on compliance with these measures. The countries will be able to gradually set up these eco-regimes, with a minimum rate of 20% in 2023 and 2024. MEPs demanded that the latter be 30%.
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