CAP reform 2014: Implementation in Spain
Spain is a complex country. It is close to be a federal state, with 17 regions, without the internal mechanisms of a real several states which ease the agreements amongst the different regions, as it happens in Germany.
From a political point of view, the situation is even more complicate. We have strong self-called « nationalists » and even independence movements in at least 2 Autonomous Communities. Any change in the political competences of the regions, and obviously any decrease in the regional CAP budget envelop, is extremely difficult.
In addition, we have a region, Andalucía, which is receiving for historical reasons per has more direct payments than any other. « Internal convergence » in Spain means transferring CAP budget from Andalucía to the rest of Spain.
It happens that, today, the socialists (in coalition with another left party) govern the region and are not specially committed to make life easier to the central government, of the Popular Party. Even more, if the Popular Party wants to win the next election, it has to obtain a very good electoral result in Andalucía. This makes budget redistribution extremely challenging.
Therefore, the Spanish implementation of the new CAP can be summarizing as such: to change everything in order to change nothing.
Both the regionalization of the direct payments and the convergence, have been done in a "peculiar" way. The geographical basis is the county. In each county, you have 4 categories of land: Arable land irrigated; arable land non-irrigated; trees irrigated: trees non-irrigated. The convergence is done inside each of the 4 categories of each of the counties.
12,08 % of the envelop the maximum allowed was 15%) is devoted to coupled payments for beef and veal, some fruit and vegetables (processed tomatoes, nuts), grain legumes, milk, oilseeds, protein crops, rice, sheep and goal meat and sugar beet.
Other issues related to direct payments
As far as capping is concerned, Spain has chosen the softest way to implement it: to decrease by 5% the amount of the basic premium when is its higher than 150.000 €.
Spain has not make use of the equivalence possibilities for greening.
During the previous programing period (2006 – 2013), Spain has 17 Rural Development plan, one for each Spanish regions. Now ii twill has a national programme, for actions (in particular support to growing agricultural cooperatives) which are developed in several regions at the same time.
Due to the difficult economic situation in Spain and the proactive policy of the central government to limit the budget deficit, the national contribution to the regional Rural Development plans will decrease, as general rule, from 50 to 33%.
Regional government will have to increase therefore their contributions from 50 to 66%. Many analysts are pessimistic as regional and local government are also facing severe budget restrictions.
The ending result of the CAP post 2014 negotiations can only be qualified as successful for Spanish authorities. Practically, the Spanish government has achieved all its negotiating goals.
The agricultural budget has been, more or less, stabilized in nominal terms; Spain will continue to be the second beneficiary of CAP expenditure; Olive and fruit plantations are excluded in practice from greening obligations; the compulsory internal convergence is limited; the impact of the capping of direct payments is, in practice, anecdotal; member States have significant margins in the transposition of the decision taken in Brussels in order to adapt them to their realities,…
Do this means that Spain, has win 7 years? All depend how this period will be used. If Spanish farmers believe that the Commission has been defeated ; that the reform has failed; that “business as usual » is again possible for at least 7 years, they will not have win 7 years, they will have loose it.
If, at the opposite, they take advantage of this additional period for adopting more environmental practices ; for decreasing their production costs ; for segmenting the markets ; for developing powerful producers´ organisations; for building active and responsible Interbranch organizations ; for creating research operational groups, i twill be possible to conclude that they have really win 7 years.