PART 4 SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS
Creating a competitive EC agriculture
95. EC agriculture must
reorientate to compete in world markets without protection. In
failing to prepare the industry for this situation Agenda 2000
is a disappointment (paragraph 64).
96. Compensation payments
must be degressive and time-limited if they are not to frustrate
and delay structural adjustment (paragraphs 65-6).
97. Modulation of compensation
would further impede the restructuring of EC agriculture (paragraph
98. Agriculture, like
all industries, should operate within a basic regulatory framework
which protects the environment and this should apply across the
Community. It should ensure that those who damage the environment
are made to pay for remedies (paragraphs 69, 76).
99. Policy and appropriate
funding are needed to secure rural environmental goods which the
market alone will not provide. Policy must ensure that such goods
are provided in the most effective manner and at least cost (paragraphs
100. We support the
Commission's intention to simplify policy, but the same approach
is needed at Member State level. Support for the environment should
be offered via a single menu. We advocate an horizontal, prioritised
approach which ensures that the most valuable environmental goods
are funded first (paragraphs 71-2).
101. Some environmental
goods benefit the entire Community, others are much more local.
There should be several sources of decisions and funding. Co-financing
should apply where there is a benefit to the Community as a whole.
The primary source for funding should in general be Member States
or regions. Funding should be based on environmental merit, not
on geographic area (paragraphs 71, 74-8).
102. Environmental payments
must not be production subsidies in disguise. Decoupling is important
for WTO acceptability and to ensure real environmental benefit
103. Monitoring must
be strengthened to prevent fraud, to ensure that schemes represent
environmental value for money and that they are fully decoupled
104. There are arguments
in favour of cross-compliance, but stronger arguments against.
There should be a synchronised process of reducing production-related
compensation payments and building up an environmental policy
justified by its own merits. We note the current wide difference
in funding for agri-environmental measures on the one hand and
the production regimes and compensation payments on the other
105. Rural development
policy must seek to ease the social and employment problems which
result from the continued decline in agricultural employment as
well as from wider changes in the rural economy. The contribution
which policy can make depends heavily upon the performance of
the economy as a whole (paragraphs 83, 87, 94).
106. The development
of alternative economic opportunities must be supported, including
aid for small-scale enterprises, conversion of redundant rural
buildings to new business uses, on-farm diversification and new
technology skills training (paragraphs 85-6).
107. The national planning
process has an instrumental role in rural development (paragraph 93).
108. We welcome the
proposal to use funds from the Guarantee section of FEOGA to support
an horizontal rural development measure, provided it is flexible
enough to support off-farm, non-agricultural development (paragraphs
109. We support bottom-up
approaches to development and note enthusiasm for the LEADER scheme.
Rural development requires expertise, as exists in the Rural Development
Commission. It is important that this expertise is not lost in
the move to regional development agencies (paragraphs 89, 91-2).
110. There should be
no presumption that savings produced by CAP reform should automatically
be used in other ways in rural areas (paragraph 90).
111. The test of success
of rural development policy is that after a time it becomes unnecessary.
We recognise that the time period will vary according to location
throughout the Community. This must not distract from the fundamental
need for the policy to be temporary (paragraph 94).
112. The Committee considers
that the rural development and environmental aspects of Agenda
2000 raise important questions to which the attention of the
House should be drawn, and makes this report to the House for