Janez Potocnic on CAP reforms and the MFF

Speaking at the Forum for the Future of Agriculture (session V – Sustainable intensification and resource efficiency, 5th March), Commissioner Janez Potocnik gave his views on CAP reform and the European Council’s agreement on the long-term budget for the CAP.

MFF and CAP:
He drew attention to the Commission’s 30% commitment to greening. As to the outcome, he suggested delegates should await the EP plenary vote (14th March) and the outcome of the next Farm Council (19th March).

The European Council agreement had been silent on water – but in his view the burden of cleanup should not be thrust on consumers. He was clear that the EU needs tough cross compliance if to secure consumer confidence.

The European Council had also increased the flexibility of transfer by MSs between the two pillars of the CAP. He suggested that Member States need to resist short term temptations in order to to secure the benefits of a well-funded Natura 2000.

The Environment Commissioner said that European agriculture is faced by more visible resource limits, hence the proposed ‘roadmap to resource efficiency’. EU agriculture had tripled output over last 50 years, but not without costs, and now faced reduced water availability together with rising prices, including for oil.

Phosphorous will become scarcer and more expensive to mine, more contaminated sources, so we will need a positive approach. A Green Paper will be launched ‘shortly’.

Land use: the Rio conference had set a target on land degradation. He will table a proposal in 2013 as Europe “cant afford to lose an area the size of Berlin to development every year.”

He pointed out that we throw away 30% of our food, a waste or resources and immoral.

For forest sector, great debate on forest biomass is about preferences – how much can forests be used for energy without undermining their wider role?

To maintain our quality of life, we need to live within the limits of the planet. “We can’t continue as we are without addressing behaviour and consumption, while protecting European competitiveness”, he said.