ACTIVITIES > Agriculture and rural development
Although the Common Agriculture Policy is no longer the European Union’s biggest budget item, it remains, together with regional policy, the EU policy that most impacts the territories. This is true for the current programming period and is set to remain so over the medium term.
For this reason, the CPMR is looking closely at this issue and putting forward proposals to coincide with the different phases of the European debate, such as the health check and the consultation organised by Commissioner Ciolos.
The CAP is currently organised in two pillars, each of which has repercussions on regional development. The first pillar directly supports prices and incomes. The second supports “rural development” and is applied in rural areas alongside regional policy. The CPMR believes that this complementarity should be strengthened. Rural development is addressed in a separate section of the website www.crpm.org .
The first pillar of the CAP needs to be adapted to specific regional characteristics
A working group led by Andalusia and Pays de la Loire brings together member Regions from the different CPMR Geographical Commissions. It is representative of the wide variety of natural environments and climates in farming (Mediterranean, Nordic, oceanic, etc.) and allows the CPMR to propose changes to the European mechanism of direct aid to farmers
The system used to subsidise farmers’ incomes cannot just be based on historic references. Work needs to be done on establishing new criteria, and the CPMR intends to play a part in this.
The place of regional authorities needs to be strengthened in the CAP
Because they are in direct contact with their farmers and food industry and are responsible for securing the environmental quality of their rural areas, the regional authorities are best placed to decide how to adapt the CAP “on the ground”. The CPMR therefore aims in the medium term to give the Regions more power to influence decisions on how the CAP is organised and delivered.
Although Regions already have a wide scope for action in decentralised States this is not the case elsewhere. For this reason, the place the Regions occupy needs to be introduced into EU legislation governing the CAP. The run-up to the post-2013 programming period is a timely moment in which to stake this claim.
Agriregio, the collective agricultural strike force of the Regions
Other interregional organisations are also active in the European agricultural sector. In 2009, the CPMR took the initiative of bringing them together under the umbrella of Agriregio, a network that it now runs and which has a membership of 11 organisations.
This informal network is designed to act as an advocate for the Regions, especially in areas such as governance of the CAP, specific characteristics of territories and the quality of products related to their geographic origin.