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The Future of the Common Agricultural Policy 

Jan 12, 2024 | News

CAP Strategic Plans were launched exactly a year ago, and the preparations are already under way to define the future Common Agricultural Policy, that will be in place for farmers and rural communities post 2027.

To guide you this process our CAP expert Blanca Casares has prepared a useful AEIDL study The road to the post 2027 Common Agricultural Policy . AEIDL is responsible for the formulation of policy recommendations across a vast range of Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe research projects. To help partners and many other stakeholders understand the challenges, this concise provides a timeline of the steps ahead for the post-2027 CAP, and outlines the opportunities to best influence the shaping of the future CAP.

In opening the first-ever EU Agri Food Days in Brussels on 6-7 December, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen highlighted the great contribution that the farming sector is making to food security and economic development. She noted that “our agri-food exports increased by 16% in 2022. We are almost or completely self-sufficient on a wide-range of essential foods – from wheat and tomatoes to meat and dairy, contributing to our strategic resilience”.

However retaking the topic she also covered in last September’s State of the EU address 2023 she highlighted that agriculture is confronted by a wide range of challenges: a competitive global market where farmers are most often the more vulnerable part of the value chain, the difficulty of passing farms to the next generation, and the global political and climate crisis which have an impact in crop prices, animal disease outbreaks, price shocks for fuel and fertilisers, eventually resulting in food price inflation to citizens.

While she acknowledged the €300bn, five-year-long national CAP Strategic Plan’s contribution to address these issues President Von der Leyen suggests that we should not ignore the divisions that characterise some of these sensitive issues, such as the use of pesticides or fertilisers. “We should not ignore this polarization. We should address it”, she said.

For that purpose, Ms Von der Leyen is calling a for Strategic Dialogue to be launched next January, bringing together farmers and food entrepreneurs, scientists and technologists, retailers and consumers, environmental organisations, animal rights groups, big and small players, traditional and organic food providers. 

Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said that the title of this major conference “Sowing the Future of EU Agriculture” is a fitting one. In his view this future will be based in what he calls “the ‘4 S’s – security, stability, sustainability and solidarity”.

Food security is the foundation of society, as shown by the exceptional measures adopted during the COVID-19 crisis.

As regards to sustainability, the Commissioner highlighted the contribution that CAP Strategic Plans (CSPs) are making by introducing stronger incentives to help farmers adopt more sustainable practices. He specifically cited the promotion of organic fertilisers in Bulgaria, the Spanish CSP extra funding for sustainable grazing and mowing to reduce soil degradation, and the Polish eco-scheme to improve living conditions for livestock. He highlighted the boosting of eco-schemes as desirable way forward for CAP post 2027.

Gijs Schilthuis, Head of Unit for Policy Perspectives, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission highlighted the value of CAP to make agriculture more sustainable. The recent report Summary of CAP Strategic Plans for 2023-27: joint effort and collective ambition” confirmed in the Commission´s view of  the important role of CAP Strategic Plans for maintaining farmers’ income and food security, while supporting EU agriculture’s transition to a sustainable farming model in the 2023-27 period.

However, these constituted only a small sample of the contributions that CAP Strategic Plans are making to deliver the EU’s environmental and food security ambitions. The Commission released on the back of the EU Agri Food Days the report: EU agricultural outlook 2023-35. This medium-term outlook report provides an overview of the medium-term prospects for major EU agricultural markets, income and environment until 2035.

AEIDL participated in these meetings, including joining the FOOD2030 event on behalf of our projects CODECS , BEATLES and TOOLS4CAP. Also CODECS Coordinator Professor Brunori was a keynote speaker to the EU-Agri Digital day of this week of conferences.  

All this is useful food for thought as our projects BEATLESGRASSCEILINGCODECS, and Tools4CAP are supporting Managing Authorities, rural stakeholders in delivering the ambitions of CAP Strategic Plans as the project entering its second year of existence.