§ Mr. Morley
The latest stage in the ongoing reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) will begin with publication of the European Commission's proposals on the mid-term review of Agenda 2000 this summer.
We are urging the Commission to publish radical proposals based around a shift from production linked support (pillar 1 of the CAP) to support for agri-environment and rural development measures (pillar 2 of the CAP). We will continue to argue this during negotiations which are expected to continue through 2002 with a final agreement in the first half of 2003.
§ Mr. Morley
Reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) was agreed at the Berlin Council in March 1999. This reform, known as the Agenda 2000 agreement, represented a significant shift from price support to direct payments; reduced the economic distortions of the CAP; helped agriculture meet the challenges of further trade liberalisation; and enabled the formulation of an integrated EU rural development policy, shifting the emphasis from production support to environmental and rural economy measures in the future. It also went some way towards helping our ambitions for EU enlargement and the WTO round.
A further reform of the sheepmeat regime was agreed by the Agriculture Council in December 2001, simplifying the regime and making it more flexible. The ewe premium will in future be paid on a flat rate basis, and the introduction of national envelopes provides a valuable mechanism for targeting extra support for the sheep sector and for encouraging environmentally beneficial farming practices.
At the Berlin Council in 1999, it was agreed that elements of the Agenda 2000 package would be subject to mid-term review. We await the Commission's mid-term review proposals, which are expected this summer. In the mid-term review we will be looking to build on the Agenda 2000 reform, which we do not believe went far enough, and arguing for a further shift away from production linked support (pillar 1 of the CAP) to agri-environment and rural development measures (pillar 2 of the CAP).