EIP-AGRI and the European Network for Rural Development joined forces last week to form a new entity where stakeholders can share information and know-how on EU agriculture and rural policy.
Named the EU CAP Network, the organization will also support the implementation of the new Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), which comes into force on January 1, 2023.
The merger of the two European agriculture bodies into a single network is hoped to enable ‘a more efficient exchange of information and good practices, further boosting cooperation and innovation across rural Europe’.
Anyone with interest in EU agriculture policy and interest in advancing sustainable farming practices is welcome to join, from farmers and evaluators to Local Action Groups and national CAP networks.
From workshops to policy-shaping
Part of the activities facilitated through the EU CAP Network include thematic group meetings and capacity building workshops, provision of facts and figures on CAP programming and implementation, and distribution of a monthly newsletter with information about the CAP.
An ‘evaluation helpdesk’ will also be formed to assess the performance of the CAP and enable stakeholders to suggest improvements.
Speaking at the launch event, which took place on October 6, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium, Maciej Golubiewski, head of the office of the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, hailed the EU CAP Network’s formation as an ‘important development’.
“The CAP celebrates its 60th anniversary this year,” he said. “The policy’s original goals have remained unchanged - increasing productivity, stabilizing markets, providing fair living standards to farmers, and ensuring the availability of food at reasonable prices, which includes all the inputs coming into the production of food. These objectives continue to respond to the challenges and are today more important than ever.
“The current crisis shows the importance of agriculture and ensuring food security at all times. With the new CAP strategic plans, we are looking for a greener, fairer and more effective policy delivering results for our farmers and citizens. The CAP plays a key role in supporting Europe’s agricultural sector and is now an even more important instrument at managing the transition to a more sustainable food production system and strengthening the efforts of European farmers to tackle climate change and protect the environment.”
The new policy: results-driven innovation in each EU state
The adoption of the new common agricultural policy is hoped to modernize and simplify the EU’s policy on agriculture by taking into account each member state’s ‘local conditions and needs’.
Each EU member state will create its own CAP strategic plan, but for the first five years, all plans will be based around 10 key objectives. These include fair income for farmers, increased competitiveness, improving the position of farmers in the food chain, climate change action, environmental care, preserving land and biodiversity, supporting generational renewal, protecting food and health quality, and others.
The new regulation is focused on results and efficiency as well as administrative costs and the use of digital tools.
Proposals for the new CAP were first presented in 2018; the policy was adopted last December and will be formally implemented on January 1, 2023.