Major Restructuring of the CAP Called For

The House of Lords European Union Committee has today called for a major restructuring of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), phasing out farm subsidies from 2014 and diverting the resulting funds into rural development, which currently comprises only one fifth of the CAP spend.

The Committee’s report, ‘The Future of the Common Agricultural Policy’ criticises the current subsidies as acting as a ‘proxy for attainment of goals’, including environmental goals, which should be targeted directly, nationally or internationally. The proposed restructuring of the CAP will allow broader challenges and opportunities facing Europe’s rural areas to be better addressed.

The Committee also says that although the farming industry has much to do to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact, climate change may offer an opportunity for the farming industry to tap into new funding streams, through the provision of environmental services such as peat soil and flood-risk management.