“Hungary has great expectations with regard to future negotiations on the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The country’s goal is for the new CAP to favour all European agricultural producers, and through the high quality and healthy foods they produce to also favour all citizens of the European Union”, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Minister of State for Public Administration Andrea Gulyás said following a session of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 11 December in Brussels.

In its statement issued on 29 November, the European Commission set down its preliminary plans for the post-2020 CAP. The most significant difference in comparison to the current system could be a new system for the distribution of funding in which the EU would only prescribe the general directions of the policy, with member states receiving greater freedom and responsibility with regard to methods for realising the goals set at European Union level. According to the preliminary statement, member states would have to draw up a CAP strategic plan, which would then be approved by the Commission. The move is aimed at ensuring that the CAP contributes to the realisation of EU goals and to the environmental and climate-related goals set by member states.

“It is particularly important form a Hungarian perspective that the Commission plans to maintain the CAP’s two-pillar structure and the direct payments that are so important to ensuring the income of farmers. At the Council meeting we strongly opposed the introduction of new goals that are not related to agriculture in to the CAP, such as migration. According to our standpoint handling this problem is not the task of the CAP. In Hungary’s opinion CAP funding must continue to be received by agricultural producers. In addition there remain a number of open issues with relation to what the statement issued would actually mean in practice, and we have indicated these to the Commission”, the Minister of State said.

Ms. Gulyás stressed that the new model for the distribution of funding would give member states greater room for manoeuvre, but that the plan must for the moment be handled with reservations in view of the fact that it bears with it the possibility of the CAP’s re-nationalisation.

The EU’s agriculture ministers will continue the debate in January 2018 under the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. According to plan, the European Commission will present its concrete draft legislation in June of next year.

(Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)