What did you eat today? Where does it come from? Has it been produced sustainably, in a climate neutral and fair way? Was it safe to eat? These are issues which you cannot consider every time you eat something but which are quite relevant for the long term. These are also the topics for which the new EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) offers a legislative framework, to give more peace of mind to both the producers and consumers of agricultural products.
On 25 June 2021 the European Parliament, Council and the Commission reached an agreement on the new CAP, to become applicable from 2023 onwards. Front-page news, both because of the content and length of the process. Negotiations took about three years, with the Commission’s new CAP proposal being presented in 2018, followed by 25 trialogues, three super trialogues, one jumbo trialogue and over 100 technical meetings between the two three negotiating parties. With good reason, since not only the financial stakes are high, with the CAP being one of the main budget lines in the EU budget, but also the economic, environmental and social ramifications of the actions to be undertaken are enormous. With the new CAP agreement the intention is to introduce a new delivery model, more tailor-made towards Member State needs to address the economic, climate and environmental and social dimensions the new CAP needs to address.
As the external auditor of the European Union, the ECA has published numerous reports relating to the CAP, covering the broad span of CAP actions and their impact. In this edition of the ECA Journal we look into the topic of agricultural policy making, the key proposals made for the new CAP, how it ties into other policy areas and how the new agreement has been received by the multiple stakeholders involved, ranging from farmers to auditors, from implementing authorities to NGOs. Academic experts, specialists from European institutions, but also farmers assess what the new CAP can offer, in opportunities, chances missed and further implementing details still to be delivered.
This edition’s highlights:
13 Can the new CAP help EU agriculture to meet the targets in the European Green Deal?
By Professor Alan Matthews, Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
30 The new CAP – building on the transition in Europe
Interview with Janusz Wojciechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture
37 ‘We need to support our farmers to reach goals for society as a whole’
Interview with Julia Klöckner, Minister of Food and Agriculture of Germany
39 Performance at the heart of the new Common Agricultural Policy
By Mihail Dumitru, Deputy-Director General for Agriculture and Rural Development. European Commission
47 Multiple interactions between agriculture and the quality of our lives make the new CAP - and auditing it - more relevant than ever Interview with Samo Jereb, ECA Member and chair of the ECA audit chamber Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
62 An auditor’s take on the ECA’s work on the post-2020 CAP
By Liia Laanes and Charlotta Törneling, Sustainable Use of Natural Resources Directorate
92 Assessing Slovenia’s monitoring of the effectiveness of rural development projects
By Erika Rupnik and Maša Želenik, Court of Audit of the Republic of Slovenia
103 New CAP reflects core EP ambitions to be more redistributive, greener and socially just
Interview with Norbert Lins, MEP and Chair of the EP Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
108 The new CAP: more powers to Member States for tailor made solutions will mean greater accountability needs for national parliaments
Interview with Luis Capoulas Santos, Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Portugal
117 Meeting young farmers’ ambitions: a condition for the success of the new CAP
By Diana Lenzi, European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA)
121 Biodiversity and CAP reform - the more things change, the more they remain the same
By Harriet Bradley and Ariel Brunner, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia
Furthermore, with 25 articles on the main theme, this ECA Journal features interviews with new ECA Member Marek Opiola and Peter Welch, ECA Director.
Other views on various aspects of agricultural policies, including auditing them, are set out by Professor Emeritus David Blandford, Penn State University; Jesús Antón, Jonathan Brooks, Emily Gray and Urszula Ziebinska, OECD,; Lukas Visek, cabinet of Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans at the European Commission; Marzanna Lipińska and Franciszek Witkowski, Supreme Audit Office of Poland, Department of Agriculture & Rural Development; Mario Guido, European Investment Bank; and ECA staff of the ‘Sustainable and Natural Resources Directorate’ – Joanna Kokot; Céline Ollier; Jindrich Dolezal; Els Brems; and Derek Meijers and Gaston Moonen of the Directorate of the Presidency.
This Journal also covers several ECA Reaching Out activities and an overview of recent ECA publications.