EU farm ministers are meeting Monday (24 June) for their latest round of negotiations on the post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy, under pressure to hammer out an agreement in time for a parliamentary vote next month. EurActiv reports from Luxembourg.
Negotiators from the three institutions involved in the CAP talks - farm ministers representing national governments, the European Parliament and the Commission - must resolve lingering differences over environmental standards for farmers, a revamped subsidy scheme, and market protections for sugar beet producers.
The 2014-2020 CAP has been the target of high-pressure lobbying in the 21 months since Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş unveiled a “greener” policy that would impose new conservation rules on both farmers and member states.
The farm-support programme is already a year off course and negotiators conceded there is no guarantee a deal will be worked out before Ireland hands over the six-month presidency of the EU Council to Lithuania on 1 July.
“I am keenly aware of the significant challenges we face over the coming days … and we have to reach agreement on a number of highly sensitive issues on which the institutions have very strong views,” said Simon Coveney, the Irish farm minister who is chairing the talks in Luxembourg.
“Nevertheless, we must approach the negotiations with optimism, we must be willing to be flexible and, above all, we must demonstrate a clear commitment and determination to bring the process to a conclusion,” Coveney said in a statement.
An Irish official told a news briefing on Friday that Monday’s three-party talks in Luxembourg would be followed by ministerial-level discussions on Tuesday. Another three-way meeting would take place in Brussels on Wednesday that the official said “would be of substance rather than presentation.”
Negotiators met seven times last week in a bid to work out disagreements.
The CAP and its complex set of proposals will miss its deadline for implementation next year. The European Commission has prepared contingency plans for introducing the new measures in 2015 and a transitional period to shift from the existing to a new payments scheme in 2014.