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"− Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I am of course very honoured to participate in these debates, which particularly interest me since I have to make proposals on the reform of the common agricultural policy. As I said previously in my hearings before Parliament, I believe the relationship with the European Parliament is key to ultimately undertaking a reform of the common agricultural policy which is more in tune with the expectations of citizens and even better understood by European citizens. As far as the structure of the common agricultural policy is concerned, I have said several times that, in my opinion, the common agricultural policy must consist of two pillars in order not only to make the achievement of the CAP’s objectives clearer, but also to ensure that the instruments at our disposal are managed better. We have instruments that must be applied annually, and of which the results can be measured each year, but we also have some measures that have to be applied over several years, as part of programmes that take several years to produce results. In order to ensure better management of the resources and means at our disposal under the common agricultural policy, I think that we need these two pillars, which must, of course, be complementary and which must have more clearly defined objectives. Then, and most importantly, it would be a good idea to clarify how the measures that they cover should be implemented. As far as cross-compliance is concerned, I think that it has had a positive impact on direct payments. It has also clearly defined the starting point of public goods rightly remunerated from the public purse. Of course, we can simplify cross-compliance measures. We can ensure that their content is clearer for farmers, but also for the national or regional authorities which implement and monitor them. That said, I think that environmental cross-compliance linked to baseline direct payments is also a good starting point to later clearly define the other measures which stimulate the production of public goods. In terms of market measures, as I was saying, I think that a focus on the markets is necessary, but we also need to protect safety nets and study new measures which may enable us to achieve the objective of a level of stability in market prices and income. As far as the structures of small, medium and large farms are concerned, I agree that they must perform better – and this applies to small farms too – but we must be able to ensure that this change takes place in their specific environment, by harnessing their specific potential to a greater extent. We can therefore have a restructuring of these farms which is closely connected with a move towards the markets, but without a shift towards a single model of agriculture, so that we are able to maintain diversity in agriculture. Following these remarks I will now listen closely to your comments and observations, and I can assure you, Mr Lyon, that I will examine very carefully the contents of the report voted for by Parliament and will definitely refer to it when preparing the Commission’s legislative initiatives in the months ahead. I would like to sincerely thank Mr Lyon for the report that he is putting to the vote today, as well as his whole team and, of course, all the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, who have tabled amendments that have enriched the text. I also welcome this report’s call and the will for better communication in respect of the common agricultural policy and the future of agriculture in the European Union. I think that, beyond its very important technical contents, this report is already a very good instrument for communicating information about the common agricultural policy, about what it has been until now, about the need for such a policy in the future and about the need for this policy to evolve. I also note your call for a recast of the common agricultural policy in line not only with the Treaty of Lisbon, which sets clear objectives for the CAP, but also with the Europe 2020 strategy. I think that we have here the opportunity to better adapt our common agricultural policy to citizens’ current expectations, beyond its traditional objectives of ensuring the security of market supply. You also recommend measures to help improve the functioning of the food chain and the balance between the different operators within the chain, as well as the transparency of positions and the negotiating power of agricultural producers. These are elements that will be reflected not only in the reform of the CAP, but also in other initiatives that the Commission will propose. I also read very carefully your proposals on the future of direct payments as an instrument not only to guarantee the stability of farmers’ income, but also to ensure a minimum level of provision of public goods. Here we have, I believe, a new concept of direct payments and a new justification linked to the guarantee of a minimum basic income for farmers, but also the incentive to produce public goods. I also noted the suggestion that the criteria governing the distribution of these direct payments should be reviewed, starting from this new criterion but also in order to ensure a more even distribution among the various Member States, regions and categories of farmers, with account also being taken of the specific nature of farming in less-favoured and difficult areas. I also note, as Mr Lyon said, the need to continue to ensure that the CAP is focused on the market, and this must be achieved in a measured way so as to prevent farmers from being faced with very chaotic markets. From this point of view I think that the focus on the markets is fully compatible with the improvement of market management mechanisms as a means of ensuring, more specifically, that these markets can function properly without affecting, as I was saying, the achievement of objectives aimed at maintaining agriculture throughout Europe and preserving the diversity of our farming. I have a few comments about the amendments which have been tabled and which are going to be discussed. I think that food production is an important objective of the CAP. This production is remunerated directly from the markets, but we must also take into account public goods, which are not remunerated from the markets and which must be covered by a public financial contribution. In agricultural production we can take into account these two aspects: food production and the production of public goods, with aspects which are remunerated from the markets and others which are not and which must be supported from the public purse."@en1

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