Future CAP discussion in Austria

Future CAP discussion in Austria
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Broad discussion-process for the CAP-future started in Austria

Beside international concerns about re-nationalisation versus EU policy intervention, the internal national struggles for influence and money and has begun. Probably the situation is very similar in other countries. Beside pure technical and “objective” topics there are various other levels and dimensions to consider in the real life policy creation process:

  • In a general view agriculture has to argue for the measures and justify them against other sectors of economy and society.
  • Going beyond this the different sectors of life sciences claim a share of the money as there are nature-, water-, soil-, climate protection, rural economy, rural life quality, gender aspects.
  • In addition, in-between sectors the struggle starts. Grassland farming against cash crop farming, mountain farming against advantaged regions farming, organic against conventional farming, ground water protection against surface water protection, sometimes also botanists against zoologists.
  • Another dimension overlaying the previous ones is the level of Provinces in Austria. Similar to the battle for shares of EU Member States, each Austrian province has to have a specific share of the cake and shifts from one to another are hardly to realise.
  • A more technical topic is the dispute between market regulation and deregulation as to be observed in the bank sector (also recently in the milk sector). During good times deregulation and private profits are the only objectives, in bad times regulations and responsibility of society is asked.
  • Last not least (more likely first) the party politics is very important as at least in Austria farmers mostly support the conservatives, environment concerns the socialists.

Every new measure will be and has to be checked against all these items. Another general fact is that new additional measures are easy to achieve but to skip measures needs an outstanding staying power of politicians.
EU CAP after 2013 public discussion and possibility for contributions on http://ec.europa.eu

Cornerstones of the Austrian discussion

  • Further support of 2 pillars and a strong common agricultural policy for sustainable, multifunctional agriculture
  • Central topics food safety and security in supply, climate protection, water resources, sustainable energy
  • Decoupled payments and lower administrative burdens
  • In times of crisis and price volatility market stabilising instruments are necessary, innovative measures should be developed
  • Decoupling for direct payments but in small amounts in sensitive regions or sectors coupling should be possible
  • Direct payments without national cofinancing, degression models
  • Cofinancing in the 2. pilar measures was successful and opens national scopes of action.
  • 2. pilar should cover protection of natural resources and sustainable agricultural production
  • Estimations for Austria:
    • Cash crop farming looses in every model-approach
    • Grassland and mountain farming will gain from unified area payments
  • Effects without CAP:
    • Negative effects on agricultural income
    • Production only in advantaged regions
    • Negative development in disadvantaged regions
    • Loss of agricultural areas and ecosystems and biodiversity
    • Increasing afforestation
    • Loss of production potentials
    • Loss of open space and lively rural areas with tourism potential