On 29th June 2011, the European Commission presented its legislative proposals for the long-term financial project for the European Union for 2014 to 2020.
With regards the Common Agricultural Policy, the Commission proposes to “maintain expenditure at 2013 levels”, in other words, 386.9 billion euros for agriculture for the period 2014-2020.
But, as pointed out by Paolo de Castro, the president of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture, the reality of these budget lines shows a disguised decrease in CAP resources in real terms.
This trompe-l'oeil budget therefore announces a reform of the CAP without scope for 2014 to face the major challenge of the instability of agricultural prices and falling farm incomes. The question of the effectiveness of public spending will be at the heart of future work within European institutions, to offset the gradual erosion of the agricultural budget.
Furthermore, if the Commission emphasizes the need to ensure a fair standard of living and .. [...] levels of stable incomes for farmers in Europe, no concrete proposal has yet been made in this direction. Beyond the objectives of rebalancing direct payments between the old and new EU Member States and the greening of one of the leading parties1, it should be recognized that the current budget will not prevent large agricultural crises and all the social, environmental, economic and political consequences.
In a world where agricultural production must increase by 70% by 2050 and where the demand for food will increase dramatically, how do we think our farmers can respond if they cannot earn a living from a profession that has become so strategic for world equilibrium? Like all farmers, they want to live from their work, with prices that pay for production, not from grants.
Momagri suggests that Dacian Ciolos, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, opens a new forum for reflection on the effectiveness of agricultural budget expenditure to face the challenges of price instability and farm incomes.
1 For whom it is unknown how they will technically operate.