The last Civil Dialogue Group on Rural Development, chaired by Dominique Fayel from Euromontana, was organised on 11th February 2021. During this meeting, the current state of play of the CAP negotiations, such as the preparation of the Communication for the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas, but also the taxonomy regulation and the Evaluation support study on the impact of the CAP on sustainable management of the soil were discussed (see all presentations of the event here).
State of play of the CAP negotiations
Mr. Bruno Chauvin, Head of Unit in DG AGRI gave a presentation on CAP post 2020 negotiations. He focused on green architecture and especially on the main differences in the positions of the Council and of the European Parliament in the current negotiations regarding eco-schemes (on ring-fencing /flexibility/ on whether there should be a list of possible eco-schemes in the regulation) and conditionality (GAEC9 is still under discussion while other points have been agreed). The trialogues on pillar 2 have not started yet. The speaker also explained how the Commission is helping Member States to prepare their CAP Strategic Plans in relation to green architecture.
He also explained that it remains undecided if a list of potential eco-schemes will be included and whether it will be a legislative or delegated act. The Council and the European Parliament have different positions on this matter. As stakeholders were asking about the risk to have unspent funds if farmers do not apply for eco-schemes (as this will remain on a voluntary basis for farmers), he explained that this remains a complicated question that will be discussed in the trialogues in Spring 2021. There will be some guiding principles to ensure that money is optimally spent while keeping the system financially manageable. However, the best way to ensure a good uptake of the eco-schemes is to have good discussion between Member States and stakeholders to design attractive eco-schemes that farmers will be willing to join.
On the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas
Some key messages coming from the public consultation were shared by Ms. María Gafo Gomez-Zamalloa, Deputy Head of Unit of DG AGRI. In addition, Ms. Alexia Rouby from DG AGRI gave a presentation on the main messages for the Long-Term Vision or Rural Areas (LTVRA) from H2020 projects. Some common themes emerge from the H2020 projects on rural development (POLIRURAL, RURALIZATION, SHERPA, ROBUST…) were:
- Demography remains a central driver. It includes ageing and decline but also the opportunities for a return to rural areas and lifestyle migration powered by new drivers.
- The aspiration to different forms of economy or an economy with values shifted to social and environmental values and well-being was there also, accompanied by an increase sense of urgency accelerating policy development.
- What will be the balance between globalisation and localism? VOLANTE tells us that the answer may affect the future of rural areas quite a lot, as will the breadth and pace of technological change.
- There has been progress in relation to governance; in particular of rural-urban linkages.
- The role of activism and the evolution of democracy.
Some concluding elements to inspire the LTVRA were that rural areas should be socioeconomically vibrant, resilient, innovative, smart and connected; their positive image should be recognised and valued, governance should be, fair and inclusive; they should have capacity for sustainability transitions; the power to change and be in a position to inform governance arrangements.
Further discussions on the LTVRA are expected during the coming Rural Vision Week from 22 to 26 March 2021.26 February 2021