CAP reform : complex yes, secretive er...no.
In his piece "Bingo-hall vote CAP's classic piece of EU double dealing" published by the Daily Telegraph on 26 January, Andrew Gilligan gives the impression that important debates and votes about the future of the CAP currently going through the European Parliament are somehow taking place in a clandestine way.
The article can be read here:Bingo-hall vote caps classic piece of EU double dealing (26th January 2013, The Daily Telegraph)
We had to take issue with that and wrote to the newspaper to point out that nothing could be further from the truth.
Regardless of what political opinion one might hold about the content of the reforms that are being agreed, the process has been public and transparent from the very beginning - there for any media outlet to follow and freely report on.
The Agricultural Committee of European Parliament set out its position on the CAP reform in two publically debated reports as early as 2010 and 2011.
Since the Commission presented its proposals there have been three debates with Commissioner Ciolos, a unique meeting with EU agriculture ministers, and several hearings with stakeholders, members of academia, one with national parliamentarians and numerous debates in the committee on the future CAP reform - all webstreamed - all of them advertised on the Parliament's website and many of them covered by press releases.
As for the content of the bills just voted on, it is simply not correct to say: " The amendments, and the compromises between them which were passed, were produced in private, and even published only a few days before last week's hearing."
The first set of amendments to the bills just voted upon were discussed more than seven months before the vote took place. A second wave of amendments was tabled and translated by the beginning of September, still four and a half months ahead of the vote. Then around 7400 amendments were debated by the committee (webstreamed) and negotiations on compromise amendments started. All the compromises were finalised and send for translation by the Christmas break - still one month before the vote.
Is this process long, complex and at times confusing? Possibly yes. Is this a clandestine, secretive way of debating and deciding on how to reform the CAP? Certainly not.
EU referendum blog published a piece discussing the inaccuracies of The Telegraph article too:EU politics: shoddy propaganda does not serve us well (29 January 2013, EUreferendum Blog)
You can find out more about the work of AGRI Committe on their website:AGRI Committee of the European Parliament
And follow them on Twitter here:@EP_Agriculture