Paris, 20 February 2018: The Commission Communication of 14 February 2018 on the Multiannual Financial Framework in the run-up to the informal meeting of Heads of State on 23 February is a document endorsing the EU’s disengagement agricultural policy, although it specifies the following useful principles:
- The search for European added value in budgetary choices, recalling what is the foundation of the European Union, the subsidiarity which establishes that “an expenditure at European level must be more effective than an expenditure at national level”.
- Budgetary flexibility that should lead to “rethink current mechanisms”
- The creation of a much more consistent crisis reserve, between 21 and 28 billion euros to deal with unforeseen events or investments.
- Finally the establishment of a strategic investment fund of 500 billion euros or even 1000 to 2000 billion.
These principles fully open the way for a CAP reform in line with the proposals made by the Momagri think tank.
At this stage of political orientations, one can only agree, even if the reflection on resources does not yet open up an increase of sufficient resources to ensure a future for the construction of Europe.
But the simulations and recommendations of the Commission for the development or withdrawal of European policies are not up to the challenges.
The Commission therefore assumes that since cohesion funds and the CAP account for 70% of Community expenditure, they must be reduced more or less drastically in order to boost or bring about other policies. However, it is inverting the order of priorities because before defining a budget, you must know what it will serve.
Moreover, the simulations made in this document are purely arithmetical and do not illustrate realistic political choices. An example is given with the topic of border protection. Beyond the assumptions of status quo and doubling the means, it is envisaged that all the protection at the borders will be taken over, which is totally unrealistic as this would imply the abandonment by the Member States of their sovereignty.
This is followed by other proposals of the same nature, such as increasing by 50% or doubling the research programs, imagine a joint development project for Defense tools that would reach 14% of the defense expenditure of the Member States … with counterparts in terms of reduction of cohesion funds from 25% to 35% and CAP from 15% to 30%.
These are hypotheses that ignore budget under-consumption, such as that of research programs, which do not question their feasibility, let alone the priorities to be favored.
It is a kind of catalog in La Prévert that demonstrates the incapacity of the Commission to propose policy projects that are the foundation of a revival of the EU and thus mask a lack of ambition.
As if the Commission was a trustee of condominiums who wait patiently for the 27/28 owners to agree. But there is a catch: the Commission has the legislative initiative. One expects from her anything other than to state principles and to make totally disembodied simulations. It is expected that it gives a course that takes into account the reality of the World and the future of Europe.
Thus for the Common Agricultural Policy: no proposal on guidelines in the budget framework to better deal with market volatility or the collapse of revenues. Nothing.
So, and Momagri has demonstrated, that we can implement a CAP that brings better added value to the budget and perfectly meets the principles set out by the Commission.
It is inconceivable that Heads of State could usefully think about such fragile and oriented foundations.
But it is also because the Member States have not been able to give a strong content to the future reform of the CAP that these assumptions of reduction of the budget of the CAP are made by the Commission.
We ask the French government to start thinking now to avoid this new blind hold-up that the Commission is proposing with a show of its total lack of interest in the only major policy integrated at European level; as if the future depended on the abandonment of the past when all the major producing countries of the world strengthen their agricultural policies.
The result: the risk of a further reduction in the CAP budget without a review of the distribution modalities of aid that would allow European farmers to be on an equal footing with American, Canadian and Chinese farmers ….
Mr President, you can and must defend a strategic CAP for France and for Europe. Reflections and proposals exist. We have built and tested them over the last few years. We are counting on you to defend a renewed CAP in a maintained budgetary framework.
You have repeatedly defended a new and ambitious European project. It is essential that you affirm this claim during the first discussions on the MFF on 23 February.
Jacques Carles, Chairman of Agriculture Strategies