Think Pieces

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Building on the expertise of our network Trade-Up wants to contribute to identifying the challenges regional and global trade experiences and work on concepts and solutions that can help overcome barriers to trade and effectively promote trade.

Trade-Up supports the further strengthening of bilateral, regional and multinational trade agreements around the world. We in particular promote regulatory cooperation and convergence on technical aspects of trade.

We therefore occasionally publish think pieces on issues we consider important for facilitating global trade in which we reflect how to best help promoting this.

A modern Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020
by Lars Hoelgaard

May 4, 2018
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The negotiation on a new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2020-2027 forces the EU to make some hard choices. New priorities on the protection of the EU external border, immigration and asylum policy, security and defence and student mobility through the Erasmus program etc need to be covered appropriately by the future budget.

With Brexit, revenues are set to fall unless compensated by higher contributions of Member States. The CAP with its large share of the budget needs a critical review.

A high budget for the CAP can only be justified if EU value added can be demonstrated. The criterion must be “Public money for Public Goods”. Direct Payments (DP’s) to farmers do not fulfil this criterion and need to be phased out. Since they represent an important part of farmers’ income, farmers must be given sufficient time to adapt.

More money should instead be spent on the protection of the environment with a long list of important issues: Maintaining biodiversity, soils and ecosystems; on reduction of air and atmospheric pollution; on mitigation and adaptation to climate change including action on energy efficiency and conservation, emission reductions and on water management; on maintenance of carbon sinks in the form of wetlands and forests with afforestation as an element and the protection of permanent habitats and grasslands.

Justified are also payments to farmers in Less Favoured Area (LFA’s) with natural handicaps-often areas facing a real risk of depopulation but important for environmental protection, maintaining rural communities and European landscape, infrastructure and economic activity. In other words, protection of European heritage and culture.

Nonetheless market orientation must remain the predominant principle for farmers’ decisions on production.

The phasing out of DP’s - combined with a possible national co-financing of DP’s - would liberate an increasing amount of money each year with some of it to be used in a modern CAP and some of it to be used for other political EU priorities.

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