30 June 2021

Agreement on the future CAP

The agreement reached during the last days of the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council was described as “the most ambitious CAP to date” by Portuguese’s Agriculture Minister Maria do Céu Antunes. It shall provide for a modernised CAP that supports the transition to greener and more climate-friendly agriculture and forestry while ensuring competitiveness and not leaving anyone behind. It determines continuity in the CAP’s general structure but changes its mode of implementation.

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As the next step, Member States will have until 1 January 2022 to draft their national CAP Strategic Plans (SPs). The Commission has provided recommendations for each Member State to assist in the drafting, by identifying key areas on which each EU country should focus. On forest-related measures, the majority of recommendations of the Commission focus on "Bolster environmental care and climate action and contribute to the environmental- and climate-related objectives of the Union". This is congruent with the overall aim to dedicate 40% of the total CAP expenditure on climate action.

From CEPF’s perspective, while forests are expected to provide key solutions for mitigating climate change and enhancing biodiversity, their various socio-economic benefits should be taken into account to the same extent, and the measures aiming at supporting the forest sector should therefore reflect all forest benefits . It is therefore very important that the agreed new Regulation allows  the continuation of these diverse measures which have proven to be successful when accessible.  

A long-term vision for the EU's rural areas

The Communication "long-term vision for the EU's rural areas" (the Vision), published on 30 June, aims to ensure that Europe’s rural areas can continue to play their essential role in providing food, homes, jobs and key ecosystem services to the society in 2040. It plans to achieve coherence between different funding opportunities for rural areas and complementarity with national and regional Member State interventions.

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The Rural Pact and the EU Rural Action Plan are the main instruments to achieve the objectives of Vision. The Rural Pact will be launched by the Commission by the end of 2021 and to promote the engagement and cooperation of a wide range of actors at the EU, national, regional and local level. The EU Rural Action plan, on the other hand aims to align different sources of EU funding for rural areas. It will establish a rural proofing mechanism, notably to assess the anticipated impact of major EU legislative initiatives. Finally, flagship initiatives will underpin the Vision, such as forest relevant initiatives to promote the development of a sustainable bioeconomy.

Custodian of 60% of EU forest heritage, European forest owners (most of them family forest owners) are among the key addressees of the Vision and will play a crucial role to fulfil the goals of the Vision. Therefore, CEPF is looking forward to work on the initiatives that lay ahead and expects them to support forests and their owners in continuing to sustainably provide multitude of socio-economic and environmental benefits.