The Common Agricultural Policy – CAP – is one of the most significant and long-lasting policies of the European Union. In 2018, the European Commission made a CAP reform proposal which had, among other elements, a new delivery model and a green architecture that included new ecological initiatives. So how has this initial Commission CAP communication fared in the months since June 2018?
Since the Commission’s proposal, the CAP reform post 2020 has been a drawn-out process. It initiated with some political ambition, which was later backed up with the European Green Deal’s targets and objectives. However, it has subsequently lost its way, if it is to seriously tackle the socio-economic and environmental challenges Europe and the world face. The current state of the reform will likely have too little or no impact on many aspects of the CAP, unless the co-legislators work constructively with the Commission in trilogue on conditionalities, eco-schemes, fair distribution of payments, horizontal rules, common market organisation, accountability.
With the help of agri-food lobbies and business-as-usual supporting politicians, the reform process has slowly moved on at two levels: at EU level, both the European Parliament and the Council reached agreement on their respective positions in October 2020, which gives them the mandate to negotiate in the trilogues with the Commission and approve the full package of three regulations on the CAP post 2020.
At national level, the Member States have set the bases for their national CAP Strategic Plans (e.g. SWOT analyses, assessment of needs, preliminary design of interventions), but much still needs to be prepared before the submission, final approval by the Commission, and entrance into force, most likely to happen only by January 2023.