“The future CAP should contain a greener and more equitably distributed first pillar and a second pillar focussing more on competitiveness and innovation, climate change and the  environment. [It] should become a more sustainable, more balanced, better targeted, simpler and more effective policy, more accountable to the needs and expectations of the EU citizens” – The European Commission sets out its goals for the new-look Common Agricultural Policy.

“It does not make sense to require every single farm to stop producing on acertain percentage of their land (ecological set-aside) when world food demand is set to rise by 70% by 2050 and production is threatened by more extremes of drought, flooding and storms. The Commission proposal also runs counter to the Commissions’ 2020 strategy for growth and employment – European farmers association Copa-Cogeca questions the environmental goal of the proposals.

“FoodDrinkEurope calls on the EU institutions to ensure that the CAP stimulates sustainable production, meeting the challenges surrounding food security, i.e. the need to meet increasing demands for food. FoodDrinkEurope would like to see this key challenge for food manufacturers given greater consideration and questions whether today’s proposals will enable the EU agricultural and food sectors to meet the challenges surrounding food security to the full extent” – European food and drink manufacturing trade body FoodDrinkEurope doubts the proposals will tackle the problem of food security.

“We strongly support the compulsory 30% allocation of Pillar 1 payments to benefit the climate and the environment. We welcome the decision that certified organic farmers will be automatically eligible for this payment, without additional requirements, because, in the Commission’s words “they are shown to provide clear ecological benefit”. In the Rural Development element, Pillar 2, the “new separate measure” for organic farming, designed to give organic farming “greater visibility”, is particularly important for UK organic farmers, as we currently receive lower Pillar 2 payments in the UK than in any other EU member state. We expect this new proposal from the European Commission to deliver a degree of fairness to British organic farmers that they are currently denied” – UK organic certification group The Soil Association welcomes the reform proposals.

“After lots of promises from the Commission to change farming practices in Europe and create a sustainable CAP, agriculture lobby groups and less progressive parts of the Commission, Parliament and Council have managed to delete all initial progress, producing a very weak proposal that continues to give money to farmers without monitoring their impact on the environment. Agriculture is the biggest driver of biodiversity loss and water pollution in Europe. The current proposal should link not just 30% but a total 100% of direct payments to greening measures to decrease the pressure of agriculture on the environment” – Matthias Meissner, WWF leader on the CAP reform, wants more of the payments to farmers linked to a commitment to improving their impact on the environment.

“The proposals for Common Agricultural Policy reform announced by the European Commission today show a disappointing lack of ambition and represent a missed opportunity to balance the need for increased output with more protection for the natural resources on which future productive potential depends” – Andrew Kuyk, director of sustainability and competitiveness at the Food and Drink Federation, wants more integrated policy-making to look at how resources are used across the whole supply chain.
“We’re concerned that we don’t see anything in these proposals that explicitly addresses the need for improving competitiveness. On the contrary, they seem to introduce potential threats. These include the competitive distortions that could be created by the different implementation of the direct payment options being offered to Member States, discrimination against competitive UK farmers resulting from capping payments and perhaps most significantly, the as yet uncertain implications for production efficiency resulting from greening measures” – Peter Dawson, policy director at UK dairy industry group Dairy UK, believes the reforms could threaten the competitiveness of the country’s dairy sector.