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Common Agricultural Policy

From the establishment of the European Communities in the 1950s and during their development into an ever closer European Union the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has undergone many changes. The CAP has gradually developed into a policy which encourages a more market orientated agricultural production, but also takes into account growing social demands for food safety, environmental protection and animal welfare. The CAP will be of great importance in the future, mainly in the sense of securing certain public goods, such as safe and high quality food, taking care of the environment and preserving the cultural landscape. Therefore it is necessary to have a broad debate about the multifunctional role of agriculture in Europe and to find consensus on future agricultural policy objectives. Above all, with this debate we have to make the European citizens aware of the decisive role which European farmers play in their everyday life and to ensure their support for the future CAP. Moreover, it will be necessary to respond to new challenges such as climate change, the increasing need for renewable energy sources and global population growth, all of which have important implications for European agriculture.

Further changes and adjustments of the CAP are indispensable. Hence, a high priority for the Slovenian Presidency will be the continuation of the 2003 reform process. In addition, the Slovenian Presidency will promote further simplification and better regulation of the CAP, in line with the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy.


"Health Check" of the CAP

Four years after the 2003 CAP reform is an appropriate moment to check how the CAP is functioning. The "Health Check" should allow for a common diagnosis, based on which the EU can decide what policy adjustments are necessary in order to make the CAP more effective, efficient and simple. The Slovenian Presidency will conduct a thorough and constructive debate in the Council on the basis of the Commission Communication regarding the CAP "Health Check". Three major questions will guide the discussions:

  1. How to simplify the Single Payment Scheme?
  2. How to adjust market management measures to grasp new opportunities?
  3. How to face new challenges?

The Slovenian Presidency is determined to conclude the debate in the Council in good time for the Council's views to be taken into account when the Commission prepares its subsequent legislative proposals. As soon as these legislative proposals arrive, the Slovenian Presidency will lead the Council's first examination of them.


Concluding current CAP reforms

The Slovenian Presidency will work quickly to transform the Council's political agreement on the reform of the wine sector into a formal agreement, allowing adoption of the legislative texts as soon as possible.

The Slovenian Presidency will also guide the Council towards agreement on the revised support scheme in the cotton sector.

The situation in the milk sector requires the EU to take appropriate measures. The Slovenian Presidency will strive to adopt the proposal for increasing national quotas for milk and milk products for the next marketing year.

In addition, the Slovenian Presidency will aim to reach agreement in the Council on the proposal to roll over the current regime for flax and hemp and to include it in the Single Common Market Organization (CMO),  and on the proposal to prolong the financing of the Community Tobacco Fund.


Simplification of the CAP

In accordance with efforts to simplify and streamline EU legislation, the Slovenian Presidency will endeavour to adopt the proposal aiming at simplifying cross-compliance rules as soon as possible. Likewise, the Slovenian Presidency will guide the Council towards adoption of the proposal to carry out the technical task of incorporating the rules on the reformed CMOs in the fruit and vegetable sector, the sugar sector and the dairy sectors; the same applies to incorporating the provisions on beef and veal labelling, and on Finnish seed aid, into the Single CMO Regulation. Together these measures represent a further significant contribution towards greater legislative transparency and certainty.


International affairs

At international level the Slovenian Presidency will maintain the EU's active role in international organizations, especially in the United Nations. Hence, the Slovenian Presidency will follow closely and actively the reform of the Food and Agriculture Organization as well as work in the Commission on Sustainable Development. In respect of the latter the Slovenian Presidency will continue to apply the Community guidelines for sustainable development.


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Date: 06.01.2008