Future of the Common Agricultural Policy – Franz Fischler, former Agriculture Commissioner & RISE chair

Franz Fischler, former Commissioner for Agriculture and chairman of the RISE foundation, met with Ed Bray – deputy editor of Agra Facts / Agra Focus – at the 5th Forum for the Future of Agriculture, jointly organized by Syngenta and the European Landowners Organization, to discuss the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The former Commissioner supports the priorities of the CAP-reform proposal as outlined below. But at the same time, he stresses that only the combination of the complete package will be effective. None of these measures will be of any use out of their context, argues Fischler.

– Increase the competitiveness of EU farmers
– Increase the long-term sustainabilityof farming, through:Environmental requirements
Funds for innovation

On the new environmental requirements under the 1st pillar – that would cover all farmers across the EU – Fischler is sceptical of the ecological benefits. Firstly, he believes that the proposal does not change anything in a fundamental way, as only a small part of the second pillar measures will be moved to the first. Furthermore, Fischler thinks that the uniform, EU-wide approach for the new environmental measures under the first pillar, is not capable of providing the flexibility that is necessary in face of the large diversity of farms and conditions across Europe.

Fischler argues that the requirements that EU farmers face should be clearer to the taxpayer: “everybody should be able to see the requirements farmers have to meet and the funds they receive”. The former Austrian Agriculture Commissioner perceives the proposed reform bill as a medium-sized step in the development of the CAP, rather than a radical overhaul of the status quo.

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