One of the main conclusions of the Conference “Building the post 2020 CAP”, held on 27th and 28th March by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPAMA), is the need for the Common Agricultural Policy has a strong financial framework that allows meeting the demands of society and market challenges. A message in which the minister, Isabel García Tejerina, fully agrees, for whom, “otherwise it would be very difficult to achieve the objectives that are intended to be achieved”.
The Minister made the remarks on the occasion of the opening ceremony of this Conference, which was accompanied by the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan and the Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Clara Aguilera. García Tejerina also stressed that the CAP should remain at the center of the European agenda, given the role it has traditionally played as the main element of stability and certainty that has allowed the consolidation of a strong agri-food sector.
For the minister, this conference is a good opportunity to compare the different approaches to the future Common Agricultural Policy, to listen to all those involved in this process, and to be able to identify in which areas agreements can be shared, efforts can be made and weaving alliances to begin with to work on a proposal of common Spanish position, as solid and complete as possible, to defend before Brussels, and that it should be approved at the Sectoral Conference on Agriculture and Rural Development.
In her speech, García Tejerina pointed out that the CAP has been part of the heart of the European construction process since its inception, facilitating its consolidation and the creation of new common policies to meet the continuous demands of society.
García Tejerina: “Thanks to the positive evolution of the CAP, the Spanish agri-food sector is responsible for 10% of the national GDP, providing employment to more than 2.3 million people, especially in rural areas”
Agro-food exports also reached 46.8 billion euros in 2016, thanks to hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized agricultural and livestock farms, as well as a significant number of companies in rural areas. In this way, Spanish agri-food products have surpassed the Community markets to be successfully located in the main destinations around the world. In particular, Spain is the world’s leading producer of olive oil, the world’s third largest wine producer, the world’s fourth largest exporter of pork, the world’s sixth fruit and vegetable producer, the citrus exporters worldwide and first in the world in fresh.
Therefore, the CAP provides the necessary stability to an inherently variable activity such as agriculture, it is the substrate on which our agri-food sector and, to a large extent, the socio-economic fabric of our rural environment.
Importance of the CAP
The Minister has stressed that the CAP is not only the maintenance of a series of productions or the guarantee of income for farmers, it is the satisfaction of this series of demands that European society poses to you and to which the CAP has responded since start. Therefore, the minister understands that we need more PAC in the future.
According to García Tejerina, the CAP must continue the market-orientation path initiated in the 1990s, so that farmers and ranchers are able to adapt more quickly to changing situations
To this end, it is necessary to strengthen its instruments, especially those aimed at combating the increasing volatility of markets. In particular, the minister has suggested that the safety net has a more preventive character in crisis situations.
And in order to tackle the problem of rural depopulation, García Tejerina stressed the importance of incorporating into the future CAP the principles of the Cork Declaration 2.0, so that, in coordination with other European funds and instruments, rural Offer opportunities for life and employment, especially for young people and women.
The main conclusions of this Conference, presented by the Secretary General of Agriculture and Food, Carlos Cabanas, will lay the foundations for the future proposal of common position on the CAP that Spain will take to Brussels:
• The CAP has played, and must continue to play, a key role in the European construction and the objectives set out in Article 39 TFEU remain fully in force.
• Farmers and livestock farmers should be the protagonists of all measures included in the CAP.
• Europe, by its diversity of all kinds, includes a wide range of productive models that must be taken into account.
• The CAP, without renouncing its role as a Common Policy, should reflect this diversity, which should be translated into flexibility to take account of these different realities, in particular Mediterranean agriculture and that of the outermost regions.
• The CAP will face new challenges, such as the increase in world population, which will make it necessary to produce more with fewer resources, with the great challenge of greater contribution to the preservation of the environment and the fight against climate change. All this taking into account the international commitments and the priorities of the European agenda so that the CAP has a key place in the European construction project.
• In order to face these new challenges, it is necessary for the CAP to have funding that is up to its ambition to meet the demands of society.
• The future CAP should contribute to the maintenance of a lively rural environment, with an adequate level of employment, where special attention is given to vulnerable groups such as women and young people.
• The Spanish agri-food sector has a clear international vocation as evidenced by the evolution of our exports and diversification of destinations. Internationalization and the opening of markets is key; Free Trade Agreements must take into account the standards required of Community producers.
• The CAP remains a complex policy; it is necessary to continue with the simplification of rules and procedures.
• It is necessary to have a clear and stable legislative framework guaranteeing the necessary legal security for farmers and herders.
• The dissemination of all the benefits generated by the CAP and the connection of consumers with the rest of the chain is a pending issue that must be addressed in order for the citizen to improve his perception of the same, while also dignifying the image of farmers and ranchers.
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