CAP Reform - there may be trouble ahead

    CAP Reform - There may be trouble ahead

    While the CAP reform negotiation left the starting blocks on time we are way off the pace needed to reach agreement for 2014 and, for the first time, the Commission has acknowledged that implementation of the CAP reform may be in 2015.

    Given that the EU Commissioner changes in 2014 all efforts will be made to finalise before the change of Commission.

    Timetable

    The progress of the current reform against the 2005 Fischler Mid-term reform (MTR) is shown below.  The 2005 reform was much more radical than the current proposals (or the 2008 ‘Health Check’ reform) and might have been expected to take longer.

    View the CAP Reform timetable

    There are several problems:

    • There are simply too many cooks.  In 2003 there were 17 members of the EU and decisions were made by the national governments (Council).  Now there are 27 countries within the EU and Council responsibility for the decision is shared with the MEPs.  Given that both bodies are elected, the diversity of opinion is enormous. 
    • The MEPs are not involved with decisions on the budget and the most effective way of gaining influence is through the CAP reform.  Based on revised draft CAP legislative proposals from the Council and MEPs (Comagri) in December, there is not a lot of separation and with a little negotiation could be agreed albeit subject to adjustment up or down depending on the budget set. However, without the CAP lever MEPs cannot influence the budget.  There is a slight irony, since for the first time, annual variation in expenditure is part of the CAP reform proposal.

    The FASTEST that implementation might occur would be: 

    • Heads of state agree budget at summit 7–8 February (next meeting after that  is 14–15 March 2013) 
    • COMAGRI (MEPs) accept CAP compromise amendments on 23–24 January 2013
    • The MEP plenary vote on the proposals (for the first time) on 11–14 March 2013
    • Formal discussion of agreement between Commission, Council and MEPs) June 2013.
    • Second reading in the Parliament plenary for final ratification (2013)
    • Two  months for the Commission to prepare the detailed implementing regulations (2013). 
    • Implementing regulations and guidance passed to Defra/RPA.
    • Decision on any options at member state discretion

    This is the fastest possible pace towards agreement so it is even less likely that agreement will be reached by 1 January 2014. Comments from Commission officials, although not from Commissioner Ciolos himself, suggest that bureaucrats are already working on transition arrangements to roll over the current CAP measures for another year, in preparation for the CAP reform to start on 1 January 2015. 

    Some analysts suggest the new spell out Rural Development measures might be able to go ahead in 2014 but, given that it took Defra two years into the last programming period to get the England Rural Development Programme finalised, it is unlikely to be in place by 2015 in any event.

    The CAP reform deal must be done in 2013 since in 2014 new Commissioners are nominated by EU states.  If Ciolos is looking for another term in office, he will want to have a CAP reform under his belt before the nominations are made.  If he fails, a new Commissioner will be in place making his or her own CAP reform plans.

     
     

    Key contacts

    Andrew Wraith

    Andrew Wraith

    Director
    Food & Farming

    Savills Lincoln

    +44 (0) 1522 508 973

    +44 (0) 1522 508 973

     

    Steve Hollis

    Steve Hollis

    Director
    Food & Farming

    Savills Salisbury

    +44 (0) 1722 426 853

    +44 (0) 1722 426 853

     

    Ashley Lilley

    Ashley Lilley

    Director
    Food & Farming

    Savills Cheltenham

    +44 (0) 1242 548 012

    +44 (0) 1242 548 012

     

    Giles Hanglin

    Giles Hanglin

    Director
    Rural Research

    Savills Margaret Street

    +44 (0) 207 016 3786

    +44 (0) 207 016 3786