“The current CAP (Agricultural Production Cooperative) will provide stability after 2020, as it is a reform specially designed for the future. Its aim is to develop competitiveness without leaving farmers on their own. This reform is not only targeting the 3 percent of EU citizens who work in agriculture but for all members of society,” Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture, stated at ‘Telling the Story. Communicating European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020,’ an event organized early this week in Brussels. One of the topics of discussion approached by Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy, and representatives of DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, was the dialog on European structural and investment funds.
“My intention was to help the European contributor understand why approximately 40 percent of the EU budget is reserved for agriculture, and also what contribution CAP can bring to society on the whole. I wanted this reform to be a reform of society on the whole,” Dacian Ciolos explained, underlining the European agriculture’s key role in developing and creating jobs. He offered Portugal and Greece as examples of countries that have managed to overcome difficult situations thanks agriculture, a sector that has managed to report growth despite harsh economic conditions. The commissioner also emphasized recent reform debates over the last few years have contributed to increasing people’s awareness of PAC (Common Agricultural Policy) in EU, from 40 percent in 2010 to 60 percent now. “The reform was a very good time to communicate the story,” said Ciolos. Once more, he expressed satisfaction with the European Parliament, European Commission, and the 28 Member States’ approval of the reform with no votes against. The text of the PAC reform is to be finalized by the end of the year. When asked what his plans are after his term as Commissioner for Agriculture ends, Dacian Ciolos replied he will not become involved in a different field because he has both a political and professional attachment to agriculture. “I think it’s unfair to express my opinion now, before the European elections. It’s too early,” the commissioner said, pointing out his potential re-appointment as commissioner depends on the future European Commission President and the Romanian government. Nevertheless, he did not deny he would like to serve another term as Commissioner for Agriculture.
The 2013 CAP Communication Awards ceremony was also held as part of the event in Brussels, and SMS Family Farms of Romania, a Romanian project developed by Adept Transilvania Foundation, won First Prize in the Innovative Communication category. The project was conceived in order to inform Romania’s small-scale family farmers through simple and targeted information on CAP via SMS. Over 70 percent across Europe lack internet access, so the Adept Transilvania Foundation decided that SMS is a better way to reach isolated farmers and give them essential information about CAP. A deal with the Council on five legislative acts reforming EU farm policy was endorsed by the European Parliament on 20 November. The post-2013 Common agricultural policy (CAP) will put more emphasis on environmental protection, ensure fairer distribution of EU funds and help farmers to cope better with market challenges. The CAP reform process, launched in Parliament in 2010, reached its final stage in June 2013 when negotiators for Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a political agreement on the major issues. The voted package includes four regulations on 2015-2020 EU farm policy and a regulation setting transitional rules for 2014.