Poseł Siekierski

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Poseł Siekierski

Komentarz dla "The Parliament Magazine" w sprawie przyszłości WPR po 2020 r. (EN)

30-11-2017 - Działalność w PE
On 29 November, Commissioner Hogan presented the Communication on "The Future of Food and Farming" that takes into account the outcome of public consultations and presenting the Commission's vision for the future of the CAP. On the same day, we had the opportunity to discuss this with the Commissioner at the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.
There seems to be a consensus in the agricultural community about the need for evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes in the CAP, which is due to the specificity of agriculture. First and foremost, it is essential to strengthen the capacity of our agriculture to respond to emerging challenges. The ongoing globalization, digitization and liberalization of the world economy make the CAP increasingly dependent on external factors that the farmers themselves cannot influence. Therefore, it is necessary to communitarise the global agricultural market by standardizing and equalizing conditions of competition. Our agricultural sector also needs to create some kind of shield against unexpected political events, such as the Russian embargo.
By entering into the next phase of work on changes to the CAP, first, it is necessary to analyze over 55 years of experience this policy has under its belt and to diagnose the current situation in rural areas. We see the evolution of European agriculture in recent years. On the one hand, we are proudly praising ourselves for being the biggest exporter of food in the world and our record-breaking surplus in agri-food trade. Currently, our agriculture is also more sustainable, better suited to the needs of the environment, climate or biodiversity. At the same time, however, there are still problems of low and uncertain incomes in agriculture, the problem of rural depopulation and the lack of replacement of generations on farm are exacerbating. It is visible then, that agricultural work is less attractive to young people, which, besides the lack of adequate income and stability, is also due to it being quite inconvenient, despite all the technical progress made so far. To change it, it is necessary to increase expenditure on the development of technical and social infrastructure in rural areas. The tremendous potential of rural areas for the creation of jobs in the green economy, i.ee mainly in the area of ​​renewable energy sources, needs to be used to a greater extent.
The EU's current agricultural policy has to a lesser extent taken into account the diversity of European agriculture, resulting not only from natural but also social and historical conditions. Therefore, I have welcomed the Commission's proposal to give Member States and regions greater flexibility in matching CAP instruments to their specific needs. The Communication proposes a new approach to move away from the current compliance system in order to assess performance in achieving the objectives set at EU levelThe instruments for achieving these objectives would be agreed between the Commission and the Member State concerned and recorded in the so-called strategic plan. Certainly the transition to the new system will require time to adjust and certain difficulties are expected, at least in the beginning. In the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development there are concerns about the possible involvement of other Directorate-Generals in the negotiation of strategic plans, which can significantly hinder and delay their adoption.
In its Communication, the European Commission proposes to abandon a controversial and complex greening system aimed in favor of focusing the entire CAP towards the realization of EU environmental, climate or sustainable development commitments. It is still too early to assess the Commission's general assumptions in this area. However, the call for a sound agri-environmental policy should be reiterated. In Europe we have the highest standards in the world in this regard, but this significantly reduces our competitiveness in the global market under the conditions of free trade. Rash decisions in the area of ​​environmental requirements can further aggravate the situation of our producers.
W mojej ocenie w komunikacje Komisji przedstawia się zbyt mało odpowiedzi na najważniejsze pytania, o których wspomniałem na początku, tj. m.in.
In my opinion, Communication from the Commission presents too few answers to the most important questions that I have mentioned at the beginning, i.e.
- Why young people do not want to work in agriculture?
- How to reduce disparities in the income of farmers and other occupational groups, which currently stand at the level of about 50%?
- How to improve the quality of life in rural areas to stop depopulation?
The Commission has also failed to come up with ideas for preventing future price turbulence in agricultural markets, which was our postulate due to recent crises in the dairy, pork or horticulture markets. In this regard, it is necessary to correct the mistake of the reform of 2013, which was to limit the traditional intervention instruments too much in favor of the so-called safety net. It seems that in the face of great difficulties in the agricultural markets we have recently tackled, it is necessary to restore selected traditional forms of intervention.
The lack of understanding of the specificity and importance of agriculture still remains a major problem. We need to explain to EU citizens that food security is not given once and for all, and ensuring it, especially in the current fragile international environment, requires maintaining agricultural production in Europe. This, in turn, requires public subsidies because, as I mentioned above, the high standards we have set for our farmers significantly increase their costs and reduce their competitiveness. A kind of social contract is needed then, under which we support a European sustainable farming model that produces food that is healthy and of good quality while being environmentally- and climate-friendly, but in return, the farmers are appropriately rewarded for the public goods they provide.
The Communication from the Commission is yet another step towards CAP modernization, but we are still at the beginning of the road, which is likely to be marked by many difficulties. The document creates a kind of framework that will now have to be filled in by Member States, farmers, different institutions, organizations, etc. Concrete legislative proposals for reform will be presented in the spring of 2018 upon explaining the problem of CAP funding, i.e. after announcing the project of the next Multiannual Financial Framework of the EU.
Czesław Siekiersk
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