Following discussion of the proposed reform options, the Commission will present formal legislative proposals in mid-2011: (1) adjusting most pressing shortcomings in the CAP through gradual changes; (2) making the CAP greener, fairer, more efficient, and more effective; and (3) moving away from income support and market measures and focusing on environmental and climate change objectives.
Prior to the drafting of the document, the EU Commission held a public debate on the future of the CAP to which the ICPDR contributed. In the course of this debate, ICPDR president Mitja Bricelj emphasised that “actions are needed from the agriculture community to ensure the good status of water required by the EU Water Framework Directive. It is critical that future developments and trends in agriculture are directed so that they positively affect water quality.”
Current agri-environment measures implemented in the Danube River Basin have been shown the need to provide targeted solutions for a wide range of environmental problems, from biodiversity conservation to erosion control. The ICPDR highlights the strong evidence that the agricultural policy should sufficiently encourage farmers to adopt forms of land management that meet the real challenges of the future: mitigating and adapting to climate change, securing functioning ecosystems, improving water resources, recovering lost biodiversity and guaranteeing food production.
Whilst details of the reform remain to be concluded, ICPDR president Bricelj reiterates key-priorities of CAP measures with relevance for water management: “The CAP reform should support farmers in the provision of public goods and provide incentives to allow farmers to make contributions beyond the meeting of baseline environmental requirements in order to effectively link and integrate EU water and agricultural policy.”
The EC’s report also recommends to draw the line between the two pillars of the CAP more clearly: Basic income support payment (which might be uniform per region – but not flat-rate across the EU, based on new criteria, and capped at a certain level) versus environmental payments for additional actions that go beyond the basic cross-compliance rules (such as green cover, crop rotation, permanent pasture, or ecological set-aside). This could provide a good basis for linking up agri-environmental measures with issues of water management as demanded by the ICPDR in response to the WFD objectives.