The debate focused on direct support for farmers, market regulation, rural development and the financial implications of the reform proposals. This was the first time in the EU's history that legislative proposals for farm policy reform were discussed in the one room by the two co-deciding bodies - the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
Given the unusual circumstances that farmers all around the world face today, such as increased pressure on food security and extreme price volatility, the logic of continuity with past reforms must be superseded, said EP Agriculture Committee chair Paolo de Castro (S&D, IT).
Expectations to be met
Reforming EU farm policy is a "huge challenge" and the expectations of farmers, producers and citizens are enormous, said President-in-office of the Agriculture Council, Polish minister Marek Sawick, who welcomed the Commission proposals as a "starting point" for an open public debate.
Cut bureaucracy, say MEPs and ministers
Whilst agreeing with ministers that many parts of the proposals, such as stepping up support for young farmers and investment in research, go in the right direction, MEPs nonetheless felt that as currently drafted, they were unlikely to deliver.
Many MEPs echoed the view of Albert Dess (EPP, DE) that "this proposal brings more bureaucracy", and many ministers agreed with German minister Ilse Aigner that "simplifying the CAP is the core point [of the reform]".
No-one had rejected the proposed measures, and the discussion was about improving their content, said Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolo? in his concluding remarks.
Tuesday november 8, 2011/ European Parliament/ European Union.