LONDON, June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
The share of the European Union budget which is spent on agriculture under the bloc's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is likely to fall proportionately over the next decade, as other areas of policy are prioritised.
But this may not necessarily translate into a cut in the budget in absolute terms when the European Commission's proposals for a 'financial framework' for the EU for the period 2014 - 2020 are published.
This was the claim made this week by EU Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski, who gave Agra Europe an exclusive insight into the shape of the package which is set to be unveiled in Brussels next week.
"In order to find better financing for immigration, for research and development, for energy networks, energy security, climate change, we have to modify the proportions of the EU budget. That is why I believe the share of agriculture in the EU budget should keep its decreasing trend," Lewandowski said.
Nonetheless, he promised that the Commission would aim for "evolution rather than revolution".
Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski told Agra Europe that it was "not at all" the case that P2 agri-environmental funding would be sacrificed as green imperatives are shifted into Pillar One.
And he also promised that warnings by some environmental pressure groups that the Commission was poised to slash or even abolish funding for agri-environmental schemes - under the so-called "Second Pillar" of the CAP - were completely without foundation.
The EU has been under acute pressure in many quarters to scale back its spending on EU policies in 2014 - 2020, in light of the current difficult economic climate.
But the EU budget chief pointed out to Agra Europe that 23 of the EU's 27 member states had increased their national budgets this year.
"Several governments are pressing the EU to freeze spending while keeping asking more from Brussels", he commented.
Lewandowski also hinted that the Commission would look at new and fairer systems for financing the EU, with ideas such as a C02 tax, an aviation levy, or a tax on the financial sector having been floated. But he said any such new measures would operate alongside the traditional system of direct contributions by national governments, not instead of them.
He also pointed out that any kind of new EU levy would, under EU rules, have to be agreed unanimously by all 27 member states.
Agra Europe has been an independent source of news, analysis and comment on European agricultural policy since 1963. It is published by Informa Agra, a division of Informa Business Information.
SOURCE Agra Europe