Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Fish & Fields: EU reforms for the better?

CAP and CFP are the EU abbreviations of the week, but they will remain extremely important for the months to come.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union need reform, and with the informal meeting of EU ministers responsible for fisheries (see also: Euronews) and the data harvest of CAP subsidies for all member states - except Great Britain - there were two notable events on Monday and Tuesday that made the euroblogosphere talk about CAP and CFP.

Both reforms have already begun with public consultations but their outcomes are uncertain.

The fisheries policy consultations are already finalised, with over 300 reactions from the public and interested stakeholders as well as a statement by the EESC, the European Economic and Social Committee (a consultative body of the EU). In the light of these discussions, the European Movement in the UK also sees an urgent need to reform the fisheries policy and not to let the CFP slip back into the hands of the member states. (Update:) And the Commission seems to agree.

In the same business, but on the fields instead of on the sea, the EU Commission is inviting the public to participate in the CAP reform consultation. This is more necessary than ever seeing that the subsidies spent through the EU's agricultural policy are largely misdirected. Without a reform of the CAP, the whole "Europe 2020" reform will not be possible as Valentin notes, not least because most of the EU's budget is wasted for large-scale agriculture, to the disadvantage of the future of the EU and to the disadvantage of farmers all over the world, instead of investing it in future technologies and the brains of EU citizens.

And so, while the National Farmers' Union has reportedly issued its vision on the future of agriculture in the EU and while Commissioner Ciolos is already participating in different consultation meetings - e.g. in the EESC - it remains absolutely vital that people like the guys from keep track and follow the subsidy money to give a real basis for the debate - e.g. that the number of "CAP millionaires" continues to rise - both for us bloggers but also for the mainstream media.

Most eyes may be on Greece these days, but we should also keep our ears open and listen to the proposals for the fisheries and agriculture reforms because they will be as important for the future of the Union as the stability of the financial markets.

Picture: © marcs-album / CC BY-NC 2.0