But the members of the european parliament’s agriculture committee did not want to vote on the issue for the time being: they postponed the originally planned vote until the fall. In addition, there are still unanswered questions.
"I am delighted with this agreement, which gives the common agricultural policy a new direction," said EU agriculture commissioner dacian ciolos. "We take society’s expectations into account strongly." The reform will reduce the gross disparities in payments to farmers.
A lot of money is at stake in european agricultural policy: almost 40 percent of the 130 billion euro EU budget for the current year is currently reserved for agriculture. Nearly three-quarters of european farm money goes directly to the 13.7 million full-time farmers. The remainder of the work was carried out in the demand programs for the rural area.
One of the key elements of the reform is more environmental protection in agriculture. For example, starting in 2015, five percent of agricultural land should be left more intensively to nature, for example as fallow land or grass strips. This is intended to create refuge for wildlife and provide space for biodiversity. Meadows and pastures are to be preserved, farmers are to provide variety for the plants in the fields.
Three percent of the payments that farmers receive directly from brussels pots will in future only be paid to them if they farm in a more environmentally friendly way. This has long been decided. Including additional penalty cuts, farmers face losses of up to 37.5 percent of their direct payments. Environmental groups do not think this goes far enough: "the numerous and creative exceptions" threaten to undermine the good intentions, commented the environmental organization WWF. The organic farmers’ association bioland also called for better environmental protection.
Joy in the subcontracting industry triggered the decision to phase out the sugar quota at the end of september 2017. "The sugar quota no longer fits the times. It led to an acute sugar shortage in recent years, with an extreme increase in the price of sugar in the EU," commented karsten daum, spokesman for the sugar user information center.
To give farmers more weight in price negotiations with intermediaries, EU wants stronger producer associations. Germany views such interventions in the market with skepticism, just as it does the purchase of cars at falling prices. At the night-time negotiations of the EU agriculture ministers in luxembourg, which preceded the compromise on wednesday, german agriculture minister ilse aigner (CSU) gave in at the end – to make a compromise possible.
German chancellor angela merkel (CDU) also spoke out against market intervention at the farmers’ day in berlin on wednesday. Farmers’ president joachim rukwied warned: "we are in danger of saying goodbye to a forward-looking and, above all, common agricultural policy that sets a relatively equal framework for all farmers in europe."
Open questions remained on wednesday, concerning the redistribution of demand funds. The states can demand stronger small courts, but this is not obligatory. However, there was no agreement on demand cuts for large-scale operations. This question, like the allocation of funds for rural development, is linked to the negotiations between the EU states and the european parliament on the financial framework up to 2020. But with these difficult languages, there is currently a standstill. The environmental organization friends of the earth feared advantages for industrial coarse farms, the working group of peasant farmers also demanded stronger reallocations.
"The final vote will only be possible when we know the legislative texts," said de castro. The pending agreement between the european parliament and the eu states on the eu financial framework up to 2020 also has to be finalized first. But he assured: "we have reached a political agreement".