CEJA: CAP HAS TO BE FINALISED
On 16 September 2013, CEJA co-organised a networking lunch in the European Parliament hosted by Chairman of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI) and MEP, Mr Paolo De Castro (I, S&D). This event gave the opportunity for young farmers from across the European Union (EU) to discuss the implementation of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in their own Member States with their own MEPs – particularly the implementation of the measures agreed for young farmers. The event was opened by a video message from Mr De Castro, a speech from Italian MEP and Member of COMAGRI Hertbert Dorfmann (I, EPP) and the CEJA President, Matteo Bartolini.
At this stage in the reform of the CAP, CEJA believes it is crucial for young farmers to network directly with their elected representatives at EU level. It is essential that the work done on securing strong measures for young farmers in the final CAP agreement of 26 June 2013 does not go to waste in any of the 28 Member States, but that the words in the final agreement become a reality. In Pillar I, it is important that the calculation method for the top-up of direct payments for young farmers maximises the 2% of the national envelope available – there are four methods available, and the best choice is likely to vary according to Member State. As national governments are currently working on programming Pillar II measures for the next seven years, it is also indispensable to ensure that Member States choose a strong package of measures available for the promotion of generational renewal in agriculture under rural development. It is for this reason that, in conjunction with the lunch event, CEJA is today holding a full-day Working Group meeting for young farmers’ leaders from across Europe on the implementation of the new CAP.
In his speech however, the CEJA President also wanted to underline the importance of finalising the ‘still-oustanding’ issues in the CAP agreement which are linked to the long-term EU budget deal in order to ensure that all the work that has been done, and in particular the strong measures included for young farmers, does not all unravel at the last minute. As well as this, it is crucial that MEPs work with the other EU institutions on finalising and adopting transition regulation for 2014 before the end of this year in order to provide visibility and security for farmers across Europe for the next 12 months and in particular to secure financial support for current young farmers’ measures. Opening the debate, Mr De Castro hailed the CAP reform as a success, stating that he was “[…] very happy that the final CAP agreement takes on board the CEJA proposal to have a mandatory system for young farmers in Europe. This was one of the goals of the Parliament.” He continued by underlining the importance of co-hosting such an event with CEJA, saying: “We need young farmers in Europe and we need CEJA.” Mr Dorfmann then followed suit, congratulating CEJA on the work carried out on CAP reform, stating: “The strong combination of measures now available in the new CAP to encourage generational renewal in the EU farming population gives Europe the opportunities and incentives to implement concrete measures for to help secure the future of European agriculture.”
Finally, Mr Bartolini echoed Mr De Castro’s warm words, but not without warning, stating that: “The long journey towards increased generational renewal in the European farming population has only just begun. Although there are now measures for young farmers available for Member States to use, and in fact one of them is mandatory for all – a huge success both for CEJA and the European Parliament – we need to ensure that young farmers get as much of the potential €800 million annually as possible. We must ensure that every single young farmer setting up for the first time in the EU gets the best deal possible out of this agreement.”
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