The Confederation of the food and drink industries of the EU (CIAA) has given the thumbs up to a radical mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as outlined by European Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler this week.
"The Mid Term Review of Agenda 2000 is an ambitious proposal for re-orienting the CAP towards an agricultural policy centred on sustainable agriculture, making use of the necessary instruments to support rural development, food safety and the quality of product," said the CIAA in a statement.
According to the CIAA the food and drink industry has noted with interest measures that aim to provide a framework and to promote farming that responds, in terms of quality, to the needs of consumers and processing industries.
Designing the CAP to be more market oriented, as suggested in the Commission's proposals, answers industry's request, claims the CIAA, for access to competitive Community raw materials allowing products with added value to benefit from market expansion in third countries.
The conversion of direct aid into income payments confirms the de-coupling that will facilitate the Community's position in the current WTO negotiations.
On a more negative note the CIAA believes that the Commission review raises certain questions, in particular regarding sectoral implications, that will have to be discussed before the regulatory proposals emerge. It would also have liked the Commission to analyse the risks of the knock-on effects on their supplies.
The European food industry processes 70 per cent of Community agricultural production.