Designing an effective agri-environment-climate policy as part of the post-2020 EU Common Agricultural Policy
The European Union is facing huge environmental and climate-related challenges. Greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity losses, ammonia emissions and continuing excessive nutrient loads in water bodies demand a much more targeted and consistent agri-environment-climate policy than has hitherto been the case. Agri-environment-climate policy measures to date – including within the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) – have not sufficiently reduced the environmental pollution caused by agriculture. In its 2018 draft regulations, the European Commission proposes a “new delivery model” for the post-2020 CAP. This model shifts responsibility for policy-making towards member states and strives for greater “results orientation”, offering member states the possibility of implementing the CAP to focus much more on the public good. Under these legislative proposals, the EU will in future only specify the objectives and broad types of interventions, leaving member states to quantify targets and design the specific measures. To that end, each member state will produce a national strategic plan for its entire territory in which measures in Pillars 1 and 2 of the CAP are jointly programmed. This plan is to be submitted to the European Commission for approval. Three policy tools are envisaged in the design of the CAP’s “green architecture”: the “conditionality” of direct payments; the new so-called “eco-schemes” in Pillar 1; and environmental and climate-related regulations in Pillar 2 (AECM II). These three policy tools combined offer member states much greater leeway than they have had in the current funding period (2014-2020). In Germany this requires more extensive coordination between the Federal Government and German states. The Advisory Board’s conclusions on the legislative proposals submitted by the European Commission are mixed. Member states are being offered new opportunities to implement targeted agri-environment-climate measures, but the scope they are being given is so broadly defined that it is possible for their agri-environment-climate policies to be relatively unambitious and continuing to focus on income support. The Advisory Board recognises a risk of a race to the bottom in terms of the level of ambition of agri-environment-climate policy if the European Commission, which is the impetus behind it, does not apply more ambitious budgetary provisions or stringent criteria for the approval of national strategic plans. Whether a challenging, targeted and efficient agri-environment-climate policy is developed or member states stick with the status quo of agricultural aid primarily depends on their political will to take action. In the present report, the Advisory Board evaluates the legislative proposals for their potential to produce a targeted agri-environment-climate policy, and offers suggestions for an effective national design of this policy area as part of the CAP’s “new delivery model”. The Advisory Board also gives details of its April 2018 recommendation to gear the post-2020 CAP more towards serving the public good (WBAE 2018)...
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