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The Committee of the Regions calls for strong rural development to overcome the challenges face by territories

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) adopted an opinion on the Common Agricultural Policy  (CAP) on 5 December 2018 in which it emphasised the need for a fairer, more sustainable and more inclusive CAP.

According to this opinion of Guillaume Cros, the CoR underlines the need for the CAP to be adequately financed and therefore opposes a decrease in the level of EU funding for the CAP post-2020. It calls for the reintroduction of the EAFRD to the common strategic framework as it was excluded in the current proposal and reiterates the need for stronger synergy between the ERDF, ESF and EAFRD in order to facilitate innovation and stimulate the creation of agriculture innovative production chains.

In addition, the CoR proposes that the specific support for small farmers should be mandatory for the Member States and suggests, to support the continuation of farming in less favoured areas and areas with handicaps, that the compensatory allowance for natural handicaps should be mandatory in those Member States where it may be applicable.

Finally, the CoR supports an ambitious policy for rural development and rejects the proposed 28% cut in the rural development budget. It is against the possibility of transfer from the second to the first pillar. It recommends adopting a rural and peri-urban agenda and increasing overall rural development funds so that all European policies can contribute to the goals for economic, social and territorial cohesion; emphasises the role of the CAP in helping to retain the population in rural areas. It also suggests requiring Member States to include in their rural development plans measures to promote short supply chains, local and organic mass catering, quality label supply chains, mountain and hill farming, and training in organic farming, agro-ecology and agro-forestry. It finally recommends encouraging social and economic innovation through the promotion of “smart villages”.

Euromontana congratulates the CoR on the adoption of this ambitious report, which puts rural development back at the heart of CAP reform concerns and encourages the European Parliament to have similar ambitions for the adoption of its own report on legislative proposals on the CAP.

15 January 2019

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