Posts Tagged ‘CEJA’
In this month’s regular column from CEJA – the European Council of Young Farmers – we caught up with Alan Jagoe, the organisation’s recently-elected new President to tell us more about himself, his vision for young farmers and the role of CEJA.
MF: Congratulations on your appointment! Can you tell us a little about your background?
AJ: Thank you! I’m delighted and honoured to be elected to the role and to be able to continue the great work of my predecessor, Matteo Bartolini. I’ve been a CEJA Vice-President for the last two years and worked closely with Matteo during that time. Prior to that, I was President of the Macra na Feirme, the Irish Young Farmers organisation. As for my agricultural interests, I run a 200 ha farm in County Cork, Ireland focused on dairy and cereals.
MF: What drew you to the Young Farmers’ movement and why is it important?
AJ: As with most people, for me, it started with the desire to enjoy the social aspect – the fellowship, trying new things, going to new places, having new experiences. Then it moved on from there when I became involved on the policy side and the drive to get a good deal for young farmers. It is absolutely crucial that we have a strong and vibrant young farmer organisation. We are priming our members to be future farming leaders and the movement gives them the opportunity to experience everything that this entails.
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MF: One third of global production wasted annually– that’s a huge amount.
MB: Yes, it’s a very large figure. In developing countries, most waste happens in the earlier stages of the food supply chain, whereas in developed regions such as Europe, food is more likely to be wasted at the other end of the chain, when it lands in the hands of the processors, retailers and consumers. This leads to safe food going uneaten. It’s clearly an issue which must be addressed given escalating food demand and continuing poverty and hunger for many in developing countries. The issue is particularly topical at the moment considering that EXPO 2015’s theme is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ which has a heavy focus on food security, and therefore food waste.
MF: What is the EU’s strategy?
MB: In 2014, the European Commission put forward objectives for food waste reduction in the EU with the stated aim of reducing food waste by at least 30% by 2025. However, in its 2015 work programme, the Commission announced that it would withdraw this legislative proposal in favour of a new, more ambitious one to promote circular economy. This is the idea of reusing and recycling existing materials and products, aiming to ‘close the loop’ in order to avoid loss and waste. The European Commission has launched a public consultation on ‘Circular Economy’ in a bid to promote its new strategy on the subject which it is planning for late 2015. The consultation is open to everyone, so anyone should feel free to have their say if they would like to contribute!
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MF: Why do we need a simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)?
MB: The CAP is one of the European Union’s most far-reaching, complicated and intricate policies. More importantly, it is one of the EU’s most ‘common’ policies, spanning different geographical areas, landscapes, soil types and farming traditions. Not only that, but it is a policy which provides different amounts of income support to every single eligible farmer in the Union. This, understandably, makes it a lengthy and complex policy which can sometimes cause administrative burden for Member States, businesses and individual farmers. Therefore, it is essential that CAP Simplification is explored extensively. Now that the new CAP has been in place since the beginning of the year, the EU institutions want to look through what has been agreed and where improvements can be made, as well as what can be done better next time.
MF: What is the background to CAP simplification?
MB: The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, has identified CAP Simplification as one of his priorities for 2015. This is also in the context of the new Commission’s Work Programme, headed up by Commission President Juncker, which highlights ‘Better Regulation’ as a core objective for EU policy. A first action plan on CAP Simplification was published in 2006, and since then there has been an ongoing CAP Simplification exercise. At the outset, the exercise will focus mostly on delegated and implementing acts, which help to put in place the detailed rules needed to implement the reformed CAP. Commissioner Hogan has already said that he will review the rules on environmental focus areas among more than 200 other Commission regulations that will be considered for simplification.
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MF: Would you say that 2014 was a year of maintaining the momentum of CEJA’s work?
MB: 2014 has been a crucial year for CEJA. Following the achievements made in 2013 with the inclusion of a mandatory measure for young farmers in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it was essential that we ensured the implementation of this historic political agreement in an effective and concrete manner. In a similar vein, it was also important that we made use of the momentum that the CAP reform negotiations had given CEJA the previous year, and that we maintained an increasing amount of visibility and awareness of the age crisis in European farming. This was despite the retreat that agriculture, due to the end of CAP discussions, made from the central position it had been occupying in EU current affairs for the last two years. Progress has been made on the policy front even beyond the remits of the CAP, including putting the need to strengthen EU policy for young farmers at centre stage within the agricultural priorities of the Italian Presidency.
MF: What else was notable in 2014?
MB: 2014 witnessed the official launch of the CEJA-Massey Ferguson partnership. Among several joint events, we held a CEJA working group at the MF tractor plant in Beauvais, France. The event also included a tour of the tractor production facilities for a number of leading young farmers from across the EU. 2014 saw the end of an era as the previous European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Cioloş, was replaced by Irishman Phil Hogan. In addition, we saw an array of newly-elected MEPs take their seats on the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Parliament. As well as this, CEJA welcomed a new Secretary General a year ago to assist what was then the newly-elected Board, with me at the helm as the new President. Despite all these changes, CEJA accomplished a number of achievements over the last 12 months and I am proud to say that the issue of young farmers was still high on the political agenda right through to the end of 2014.
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In this month’s regular column from CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers), President, Matteo Bartolini discusses the prospects under the new regime.
MF: Can you give us a brief description of the role of the European Commission?
MB: This is the EU’s executive body and stands for the interests of Europe as a whole. It is led by one President and 27 Commissioners (one from each of the 28 EU member states), known as the ‘College of Commissioners’ which meets once a week. A new team of Commissioners is appointed every five years, with the next one due to start their term on 1 November 2014. The President-Elect Jean-Claude Juncker has already been nominated by the Council, elected by the European Parliament and has, in turn, chosen all 27 nominees from candidates put forward by their member states and assigned them a policy area. This list must now be approved by the European Parliament.
MF: What is Jean-Claude Juncker’s background?
MB: Mr Juncker is an experienced politician with 17 years as Luxembourg’s Prime Minister under his belt as well as institutional experience in terms of his background as President of the Eurogroup. He is said to be an idealist and European federalist, but also a deal-broker with a knack for achieving consensus. The President of the Commission is arguably the most influential position of all institutional jobs, considering that the European Commission has the sole right of initiation of all EU law. However, there is a close second in the form of the President of the Council. This is a leader who sets the agenda for the work of the European Council and brokers consensus between member states. A few weeks ago, Donald Tusk, Poland’s Prime Minister, was elected by the Council to be the head of the Euro Summit as well as Council President.
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If you would like to get in touch with Mr. Bartolini or CEJA, email firstname.lastname@example.org.