177. We support the Commission's intention
to review whether the strategic guidelines for rural development
in the period 2007-2013 offer appropriate incentives for farmers
and land managers to address the challenges and exploit the opportunities
posed by climate change, including research and development, sustainable
water management and the protection of biodiversity. We note,
however, that because rural development programmes are drawn up
by the Member States themselves, the onus is also on them to review
whether their rural development and climate change agendas are
suitably aligned. The Commission's review should therefore be
complemented by equivalent reviews at the national level. Particular
attention should be given to whether the right measure of flexibility
is available to support measures that cut across the EAFRD axes,
notably where there is both a business development and an environmental
aspect to a particular project.
178. We would not support moves to incorporate
climate change and water management objectives in cross-compliance.
This would in our view add to the administrative burden faced
by farmers, while duplicating policy objectives that are already
addressed in Pillar II and in the Water Framework Directive.
179. We concur with the Agriculture Commissioner's
verdict that market developments have removed the justification
for subsidising biofuel production.
Production-linked subsidies run counter to the principle behind
the 2003 CAP reformsupport schemes for energy crops should
be no exception.
180. We support the Commission's call for
funds to be transferred from Pillar I to Pillar II so that adequate
resources are available to implement the climate change agenda
for agriculture. We note, however, the risk that the climate change
agenda may be seized upon to resist calls for cuts to the overall
CAP budgeta position that may be implicit in the evidence
given to us by the Agriculture Commissioner.