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The agricultural sector is concerned about the reduction in the CAP budget in the face of Brexit

| News | Anti-Trust Law and European Union Law

Conference on the Reform of the CAP and the new challenges for the agricultural sector organised by Andersen Tax & Legal and Caja Rural del Sur, together with Cooperatives Agro-alimentarias de Andalucía and Asaja Sevilla.

The main actors in the Andalusian agricultural sector have expressed their concern about the reduction in the budget of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which, for the next period 2021-2027, foresees a decrease of 5% compared to the current one caused mainly by the coming exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, as it is a country that contributes more to the Community coffers than it receives in this sector.

Meanwhile, the reform of the CAP that is being debated in the European institutions continues its parliamentary process with a view to 2020 and seeks to approve a Community regulation for the agricultural sector whose priority is to simplify and modernise the procedures for aid, increase the commitment to innovation, be more ambitious in terms of the environment and climate change, support the incorporation of young people into the agricultural sector and adapt legislation and aid to the particularities of each country, allowing each government to develop its strategic plans for implementing the CAP and seeking a fairer and more efficient distribution of aid.

This was highlighted during the conference on CAP Reform and new challenges for the agricultural sector organized today in Seville by Andersen Tax & Legal and Caja Rural del Sur, along with Cooperatives Agro-alimentarias de Andalucía and Asaja Sevilla, in which 200 representatives of the agricultural sector in Andalusia participated.

The conference was opened by Concepción Cobo, Secretary General of European Funds for Sustainable Rural Development, José Luis García-Palacios, President of Caja Rural del Sur, and José Manuel Pumar, Managing Partner of the Seville office of Andersen Tax & Legal, and continued with a presentation on the sector's concerns by the President of ASAJA-Andalucía, Ricardo Serra, and the President of Andalusian Agro-food Cooperatives, Juan Rafael Leal, and an analysis of the CAP and the EU's position by Gregorio Dávila, of the European Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development.

During his speech, José Manuel Pumar recalled the concern generated by the economic endowment that the CAP will have, mainly in view of the reduction in the budget represented by the United Kingdom's exit from the EU, a concern shared by all the speakers. The managing partner of the Andersen Tax & Legal office in Seville also appreciated the fact that the Commission's proposal calls for co-responsibility on the part of governments to adapt the rule to the specific needs of each country.

For his part, the president of Caja Rural del Sur insisted on making a coherent and consistent reform since the CAP has meant a before and after for the development of the agricultural sector and to guarantee the economic model in which a significant number of people live.

At this point, the Secretary General of European Funds for Sustainable Rural Development of the Regional Government of Andalusia, Concepción Cobo, said that the agricultural sector in Andalusia represents 10% of employment and 8% of GDP and that throughout the EU generates 25 million jobs, so, in his view, the CAP is "essential to maintain this economic engine and alleviate the threat of depopulation of rural areas.

On the part of Asaja, its president in Andalusia, Ricardo Serra, referred to concerns in the sector, such as the maintenance of the food chain, water management, generational change or the commitment to innovation, to which the president of Andalusian Agro-food Cooperatives, Juan Rafael Leal, added environmental problems and the need to simplify requests for aid. In relation to Brexit, he went beyond the direct effects it will have on the budget and recalled that it may involve new export tariffs to this country, which is the third recipient of agricultural products from Andalusia.

The representative of the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission Gregorio Dávila stressed that the budget for the CAP in the period 2021-2028 is 365,000 million euros, representing a reduction of 5% over the previous one, and that this may vary if Heads of State so decide.

As he explained, the Commission is working to reach an agreement that will make it possible to present the strategic plans in 2020 and has highlighted the most important aspects of the new governance, such as administrative simplification, the performance approach to regulate also on the basis of results and the pursuit of common objectives throughout the EU through development and local implementation in each country with the contribution of the Member States.

In particular, he listed the nine specific objectives pursued by the CAP, such as improving competitiveness and market orientation, supporting farm income and resilience, improving the position of farmers in the food chain, mitigating and adapting to climate change, improving sustainable development and natural resource management, protecting biodiversity and landscape, attracting young farmers, investing in food and health, as well as defending employment and growth in rural areas.

Finally, the challenges of the new CAP on the part of the main actors were presented in a round table with the participation of Gregorio Dávila, together with Antonio Caro, Head of the Technical Services of ASAJA, José Antonio Delgado, PAC department technician in Agro-alimentary Cooperatives of Andalusia, Paloma Sánchez, Director of the Department of Competitiveness and Sustainability of FIAB, and Antonio Alcántara, Head of PAC Monitoring Service of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development of the Regional Government of Andalusia, and moderated by Rafael Ripoll, Of Counsel of Andersen Tax & Legal.

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