Van Rompuy EU budget proposal threatens farming sustainability
The IFOAM EU Group has come out strongly against the compromise proposal for the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) or EU Budget 2014-2020 put forward by the European Council President Hermann Van Rompuy. The proposal is scheduled to be tabled at the General Affairs Council on the 20 November ahead of the extraordinary Council meeting of European Heads of State on the 22 and 23 November. Van Rompuy has suggested to make deeper cuts to CAP spending than the figures proposed by the Commission (July 2012) and the revisions offered by Cypriot EU Presidency in October 2012 with cuts to pillar 2 funding (rural development) of 9.3% to 83.67bn and pillar 1 (direct payments) of 4.7% to 269.85bn based on 2011 constant prices. Member states could be able to shift up to 15% of funding from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2, while all member states could now have the option to transfer back up to 15% Pillar 2 funding to Pillar 1.
Whereas Van Rompuy’s proposal maintains 75% co-financing for operations contributing to climate and environment objectives under rural development, 30% for greening measures under direct payments and earmarks 20% of entire EU budget for Climate action objectives his proposals stipulate that member states would be able to determine the choice of greening measures that farmers must apply. Member states would also determine the capping of direct payments for the highest recipients in their respective countries.
In a press release IFOAM EU stressed the importance of having a strong rural development budget for mainstreaming sustainable outcomes including the expansion of organic food and farming systems to ensure a real future for rural economies which can provide healthy food, employment and environmental services.