BACKGROUND DETAILS DOCUMENT
The European Commission has published its draft proposals for the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2014-2020. We would welcome your views on these proposals and this background document is to let you know how we intend to consult on this topic.
The CAP provides the main forms of support to the land-based sectors across Europe and it has undergone a number of changes over the years, most recently the Health Check in 2009.
These latest proposals from the Commission are far more extensive than those of the Health Check, since they set out a completely new framework for Pillar 1 Direct Payments. The reforms also revise various market measure provisions and make further changes to the Rural Development Regulation which covers Pillar 2 support of the CAP which is used to support the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).
There is a lot to consider in this consultation since there are in total 7 draft regulations from the Commission. All 7 draft regulations can be viewed at http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-post-2013/legal-proposals/index_en.htm.
Further information on these proposals can also be found on our CAP reform website (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/CAP). This website has been redesigned to provide the latest information on developments on the CAP as they happen and it now also includes a "Recent News" section and a section where papers from the Future CAP Stakeholder Group can be viewed.
David Barnes' blog http://blogs.scotland.gov.uk/cap-reform/ provides up to date information on developments in Europe at Council and so on. The set of slides used by David Barnes and Drew Sloan at their recent roadshows together with a series of 4 associated podcasts can also be found on the website and should help you to understand what it is the Commission are proposing.
Consultation Process - Questback system
Earlier Scottish Government consultations on the CAP Health Check and for the Brian Pack Inquiry have provided us with a good understanding of the main positions held by stakeholders.
Therefore, this time round we are trying something new and are using Questback to structure the consultation. Undertaking the consultation in this way will help the Scottish Government monitor views throughout the 12 week consultation period thus helping to inform its position in these early discussions in Europe.
Questback is a survey-type questionnaire and so is rather different to normal written consultations but hopefully it should be fairly straightforward if you follow the advice below.
Instead of writing in text answers in reply to questions, the Questback system asks you to click on a box to indicate how strongly you feel about a particular idea. In general the options are: "Strongly agree", "Agree", "Neither agree nor disagree", "Disagree", "Strongly disagree" and "I don't know". These options are shown in a vertical list under each question. There are also some places in the consultation where additional comments can be provided.
Because of the scale of these reforms we have broken down this consultation into three parts. It is likely to take you around 30 minutes to complete each of these three separate consultations.
The Future CAP consultation is arranged as follows.
- Consultation 1: Direct Payments which at present in Scotland are the Single Farm Payment (SFP) Scheme and Scottish Beef Scheme (SBS):
- Basic Payments (9 questions)
- Further schemes which Scotland would have to offer (9 questions)
- Additional schemes which Scotland could also choose to provide (5 questions).
- Respondent Information Form
- Consultation 2: Rural Development supports the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP)
- Rural Development (5 questions).
- Respondent Information Form.
- Consultation 3: Finance & Controls issues which are common to both Direct Payments and Rural Development:
- Financing under the CAP (5 questions);
- Advice, inspections and evaluation (6 questions)
- Cross Compliance and GAEC (10 questions).
- Respondent Information Form.
What you need to do (the information below is also summarised briefly on separate "Aide Memoire")
Splitting up the process in this way into three separate consultations on "Direct Payments", "Rural Development" and "Finance and Controls", means that if you wish you can respond to the different consultations on different days, however, you cannot save a half-completed consultation and return to it later.
Respondent Information questions are given at the end of each of three consultations to allow you to complete any one or all of the three consultations.
You can complete as much of each consultation as you wish but you must complete the respondent information questions at the end of the consultation you are completing or else your response will not be captured.
Each of the three consultations contains a series of questions on specific aspects of the Commission's proposals on which we would like your view. The full set of questions, is given at the end of this document, so that you can see what other questions we are asking in other parts of the consultation.
Before each question there is some text which gives further information so that you can understand what it is that the Commission are proposing. Once you have considered the issue, you simply click on the box that reflects how you feel about the Commission's proposal and then move on to the next question. You can go back and change previous answers whilst you are in a section of a consultation but not after you have clicked "Next" and gone on to the next section.
The consultation on the Rural Development regulation includes a weblink to the draft Rural Development regulation. If you open this link you must do so in a separate window as you will come out of Questback. You simply cut and paste the link into the address bar in Explorer or you can use the link to the Commission's CAP website given above under "Introduction".
The closing date for responses is 24th April 2012 but we would welcome early replies so that the Scottish Government can fully engage in the discussions in Europe. Negotiations in Europe have already started but are unlikely to conclude in 2012 so all views that we receive throughout the consultation period will be very helpful to us.
The three Questback surveys can now be accessed by clicking one of the three links below:
To enter the electronic consultation on the European Commission's proposals for future "Direct Payments":
To enter the electronic consultation on the European Commission's proposals for future "Rural Development":
To enter the electronic consultation on the European Commission's proposals for future "Finance and Controls
Replying electronically will enable us to monitor responses from time to time but if needed, hard copies of this consultation can be obtained from Nigel Baylis (Nigel.Baylis@scotland.gsi.gov.uk): Nigel Baylis
Scottish Government - Rural Directorate
CAP Reform and Crop Policy Branch
What happens next?
At present only the draft forms of these regulations from the Commission are available and discussions on the regulations are just starting in Europe. Negotiations will be a very long process as both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers need to reach agreement on the content of the proposals and this could take up to a couple of years.
It may be some time therefore before all the details of the future framework for the Scottish CAP are known. Even when the legislative proposals have been agreed in Europe and officially published, we won't know all the fine detail. This will appear later in separate detailed implementing rules so we will need to consult you again at that stage.
This first consultation seeks your views on only the Commission's proposals. We will consult you again on exactly how the new CAP should be implemented in Scotland, when the detailed implementing rules are known.