CEPF calls for a strong Rural Development Policy in the Commission’s plan on the future CAP
On 29 November the European Commission presented its Communication on the future of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020, outlining the vision for the future of food and farming in the EU. CEPF emphasises the need for a strong rural development policy in the CAP and a higher level role of forestry.

CEPF Secretary General Emma Berglund said: “Now more than ever it is important to clearly and fully recognize the importance of forestry for reaching EU objectives. The forest sector needs a stronger political recognition and integrity in the ongoing CAP discussion in order to boost its unrevealed potential.”

In this regard, a good starting point for further discussions can be seen in the statement of the Communication that “…foresters are not only users of natural resources, but also indispensable managers of ecosystems, habitats and landscapes.” Furthermore, CEPF underlines the importance of the bio-economy and welcomes the Commission’s proposal to let the growth of the bio-economy become a priority for the CAP strategic plans.

Berglund highlights that “sustainably managed forests deliver a multitude of benefits, both for rural areas and society at large. The Rural Development Policy in the CAP has an important role to play and to support an economically viable competitive forestry sector, which is a prerequisite for the sustainable development of Europe’s rural areas.” 

All these aspects must be considered together with a simplification of CAP rules, which is welcomed by CEPF. However, the Communication raises some concerns regarding the increased focus on result-driven systems and the implementation of this within the new delivery model, which needs to be carefully assessed and clarified.

On 29 November 2017 the Commission adopted the Communication on “The Future of Food and Farming”, which is an important step for further discussions on the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020. The Commission’s proposal is aiming at modernisation and simplification of the CAP, following the results of a broad consultation with stakeholders. 

The Commission’s flagship initiative is a new delivery model that will provide greater subsidiarity to Member States and eventually give them the responsibility to choose how and where to invest their CAP funding in order to meet ambitious common goals on environment, climate change and sustainability. For this purpose Member States have to establish CAP Strategic Plans, covering their actions under pillar I and pillar II. 

This implies the current two pillar structure will be kept, accompanied by simpler rules and a more flexible approach to ensure the delivery of real results. With moving to a tailor-made approach the Commission promises itself to be closer to those who implement in on the ground.  

The Communication does neither pre-empt the outcome of the debate on the future of the EU finances, nor the content of its proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The Commission plans to table the relevant legislative before the summer 2018, following the MFF proposal.


For further information, please contact:

Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF)
Policy Advisor - Franz Thoma,