New capsule of the CAP: European Commission dixit: The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development is no more a Structural Fund

On 29 may 2018, The European Commission has approved its proposals of legal text for Regional development and cohesion. I will not develop here an analysis of this proposal as it is outside the scope of my limited competences. But there is something strange which hurts me as soon as I saw the proposals.

Il you go to common regulation for the different structural funds, a novelty introduce for the current financial perspectives, you discover that the EAFRD is no more concerned. The Commission does not consider now the Rural Development Fund as another member of the Structural fund family[1].

In its Communication on the Future of Food and Farming, the Commission said that in order “to  enhance  EU  added  value  and  to  preserve  a  functioning  agricultural  internal  market Member  States  would  take  their  decisions  not  in  isolation,  but  in  the  framework  of  a structured  process  that  would  materialise  in  establishing  a CAP  strategic  plan ,  which would  cover  interventions  in  both  pillar  I  and  pillar  II,  thus  ensuring  policy  coherence across the future CAP and with other policies.”

With a decrease budget, a result-oriented policy has to be based on consistency, between the 2 pillars of the CAP, obviously, and with “other policies”, as underlined by the Commission. Amongst those “other policies”, regional and cohesion policy are key. The whereas clause 2 of the current Regulation[2] underlines the need “to improve coordination and harmonise implementation of the Funds”. Apparently, this is no more relevant as far as the Rural development Fund is concerned.

I cannot disagree more. The  new delivery model for the CAP make sense in addition to the existing European tools trying to develop consistencies and synergies between the different European policies which act on a territory, not instead of the current mechanisms.