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CAP talks shift to Brussels

26.06.13 | News

Negotiations on the future of the post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy are to resume on Wednesday (26 June) at the European Parliament in Brussels after three days of talks failed to produce a hoped-for final agreement.

National farm ministers, joined in Luxembourg by the European Commission and negotiators from the Parliament, had hoped to wrap up a deal on Tuesday, after three months and more than 40 rounds of meetings on the 2014-2020 CAP.

Simon Coveney, the Irish farm minister who has chaired the talks, said late Tuesday that differences remained. Talks that began in Luxembourg on Monday now shift to Brussels, EurActiv reported.

“While it is fair to say that we have reached agreement in principle on a number of issues, we are still some way from an overall political agreement,” Coveney said, adding that the Brussels meeting “will be difficult but decisive.”

Negotiators from the three institutions involved in the CAP talks still must work out differences over stronger market interventions to protect farmers incomes from climate shocks and cheaper imports, and continued market protections for sugar beet producers, both issues that MEPs involved in the talks insist on.

Germany has objected to giving MEPs a stronger role in overseeing and amending CAP provisions once a deal is reached, but appeared to ease its opposition to pave the way for an agreement.

Farm organisations appeared to clinch a deal that would give young and small farmers extra support through the CAP’s direct payment scheme, although large farms would face cuts.

The final deal is likely to disappoint environmental groups as national governments have sought broad exemptions to “greening” measures proposed by the Commission. National governments also appeared to win a deal that would allow a gradual phase-in of measures for “ecological focus areas,” or non-farmed plots that are designed to foster biodiversity.

The €50-billion-a-year 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.