Ahead of the publication by the European Commission on Friday of its proposed agriculture allocations for the EU’s 2021-2027 budget, the Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party and the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) welcomed the Commission’s aim to give “more power” to member States, and, where Belgium is concerned, to the regions. Euro parliamentarians Sander Loones (N-VA) and Tom Vandenkendelaere (CD&V) were able to consult the proposal prior to its presentation on Friday by Commissioner Phil Hogan.
At the presentation of the broad outlines of the multi-year budget in early May, the Commission had proposed a 365-billion-euro budget for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is 5% less than the current framework. According to the French publication, Le Monde, the Commission based its proposal on current prices, but if the impact of inflation is factored in, the drop would be 12%.
Many States, including France, the primary beneficiary of the CAP, protested against this reduction, which also has Wallonia worried.
However, the N-VA and the CD&V are drawn by a different aspect of the proposal, the possibility for member States to better direct their support, which, they say, is good news for Belgium’s regions.
“Flanders will be able to determine what the support to be redistributed will look like, but also which practices our farmers should apply to attain the objectives of our ecological programme,” commented Tom Vandenkendelaere.
The N-VA is satisfied to see that Flanders “will be able to carry out a policy that is better tailored to our Flemish farmers,” said Sander Loones. “I hope this analysis will be extended to other policy areas.”
Currently, the differences between regions, with more industrial and intensive agriculture in Flanders than in Wallonia, are the subject of constant negotiations aimed at enabling Belgium to present a joint position at the EU Council of Ministers.