CIAA welcomes CAP proposals
regulatory simplifications made to the Common Agricultural Policy
The CIAA believes that these amendments have the potential to enhance competitiveness within the food chain and, in particular, within the agri-food sector. "Food and drink industries are subjected to a number of administrative procedures derived from the CAP," said the organisation in a statement. "To be effective, the Commission's simplification plan has to lead to concrete results for operators, i.e. a decrease in red tape and a reduction in costs." The EC has proposed simplifying the CAP by replacing 21 Common Market Organisations (CMOs) with a single CMO. The move is a major step in the ongoing process of streamlining and simplifying the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) for the benefit of companies handling agricultural products. Fundamentally, less red tape should reduce costs for the food industry. According to the EC, the creation of a single CMO will slim down legislation in the farming sector, improve its transparency and make the policy more easily accessible. However, the EC claims that this type of technical simplification is not a way to introduce reforms through the back door. It said that policy changes are happening in parallel, for example in the ongoing discussions on reforming the CMOs for bananas, fruit and vegetables and wine. "These changes will be incorporated into the single CMO once the Council has reached final agreement on these three reforms," said the EC in a statement. However, the CIAA does not share the Commission's opinion that this process is purely of a 'technical' nature. "For some CIAA members, dealing with several sectors, a single CMO could be of interest as it may reduce the time spent on trying to interpret different sectoral rules," said the CIAA. "However, for a producer involved in a specific sector, having all market measures listed in one longer legal document does not always make it simpler." Furthermore, the CIAA has some concerns due to a lack of precise indications on the composition and functioning of the single CMO management committee (ManCom). The organisation for example is wary that the single CMO approach would provide the Commission with more power to decide whether or not it would want to convene a meeting of the single ManCom on any particular issue. For these reasons, the CIAA is seeking clarification on the organisation of the single ManCom with the aim of ensuring that sectoral expertise remains at the centre of ManCom meetings. "CIAA requests that Member States review the single CMO provisions carefully, taking into account the remarks mentioned above," said the organisation. "This is an important piece of legislation." The proposal foresees a single Regulation with 198 articles, in place of 41 Council acts with a total of more than 600 articles. Eventually, the whole CAP will be covered by just four main Council acts: those on the single CMO, the direct aid regime, rural development and the financing of the CAP.