A total decrease of 8% (1st and 2nd pillar and recovery plan)
With -31 billion € less: A proposal suggesting that the agricultural sectors, and notably the EU wine sector, should only rely on themselves
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today presented her proposals for a revised EU budget for the period 2021-2027 and a recovery plan for the EU economy.
The sum of the announcements is substantial and requires a detailed analysis of the guidelines that the European Commission is proposing for European agriculture and the development of rural areas.
A week before, the same Commission adopted the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies stressing the importance of food security in the European Union and the central role of European farmers, while asking the co-legislators to endorse a set of new measures that would lead, with a constant CAP, to a reduction of at least 15% in European agricultural production and both an agricultural and rural decline.
To meet the challenges it has drawn, the Commission is today proposing a CAP 2021-2027 budget of 374.958 billion current euros and an allocation of € 16.483 billion for economic recovery.
Is such a CAP budget up to the promises announced and the needs of the European agricultural and rural sectors?
First observation: with regard to the CAP budget (excluding the stimulus package), the Commission is simply maintaining its proposal of last February for a CAP budget barely spread out in current euros (maintaining the 1st pillar, a 6% decrease in the 2nd pillar), therefore a drastic decrease of 12% in constant euros, thus in real value for agricultural and rural eonomic actors.
Second observation: the addition of € 16.483 billion (economic recovery package) to the second pillar (rural development) – while it allows for an increasing total budget in current euros – is very far from offsetting the budget cuts made in constant euros.
In total, the Commission’s proposal of the CAP 2021-27 budget with the so-called “economic recovery” envelope amounts to 352.145 billion Euros 2018, compared to 383.6 billion Euros 2018 for the CAP 2014-2020.
The Commission is therefore proposing a severe cut of €31 billion in aid over the period, concentrated on the first pillar of the CAP.
This budget proposal does not offer any real prospect for an economic sector shaken by the crisis, whose ability to continue to produce and take care of rural areas is however vital, but on which the Commission plans to place additional constraints without ultimately giving it the capacity to invest massively in techniques and routes with dual economic and environmental performance.
In the end, less aid, more requirements and suggested constraints result in less income and capacity to invest in the future. The gap is obvious and not very credible.
It does not give the right means to prepare, finance and implement the recovery plan the EU wine sector needs.