European Commission unveils reform plan for CAP

10:12, November 19, 2010      

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A European Union executive Thursday unveiled a reform plan for the bloc's costly Common Agricultural Policy.

Dacian Ciolos, the commissioner for European Agriculture and Rural Development, said the reforms, intended to take effect after 2013, would make the EU's agricultural sector "more dynamic, competitive and effective."

"The CAP is not just for farmers, it is for all EU citizens -- as consumers and taxpayers," Ciolos said, "European agriculture needs to be not only economically competitive, but also environmentally competitive."

The European Commission outlined three options for future reforms - adjusting most pressing shortcomings in the CAP through gradual changes; making the CAP greener, fairer, more efficient and more effective; and moving away from income support and market measures and focusing on environmental and climate change objectives.

The commission said that any option will keep the two pillars of the CAP, namely direct payments and rural development measures, stressing that the future system of direct payments cannot be based on historical reference periods, but should be linked to objective criteria.

The CAP, with its main part on farm subsidies, is the most expensive item of EU expenses, accounting for about 40 percent of the entire EU budget.

Source: Xinhua


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