Over the next six months, the Spanish Presidency of the EU intends to devote considerable attention to the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, which is entering its "final phase". But Madrid nevertheless intends to make a useful contribution to the debate on "the Common Agricultural Policy post-2013, Horizon 2020', and continue the work begun in recent months on the competitiveness of agriculture and the agri-food industry as well as on the role of women in rural areas.

Moreover, ministers will lay the foundations for new relations with the European Parliament which, due to the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, has seen its competences broadened in the area of agriculture.

Spain considers that these discussions on the reform of the CAP will enter into a "decisive" phase, because it is during this six-month period that the European Commission, once in place, will present a communication on the reform of the Community budget. It is this document that will give the real go-ahead to debates on the revision of EU policies.


Madrid intends to direct agricultural discussions towards market management and crisis situations. As of February, the Spanish Presidency should present a discussion document' with regard to this. Elena Espinosa, the Spanish minister of environment and rural and marine affairs, should also invite her European counterparts to informal discussions in Merida, in the South-West of Spain, from 30 May to 1 June, for post-2013 discussions.

Spain considers that the CAP presents real European added value' and must, in this respect, be maintained. According to Madrid, the objectives set by the treaties, such as safeguarding the environment and the sustainable production of quality food in sufficient quantities, "remain valid". Moreover, on 30 December 2009, on the occasion of the presentation of a shock plan' for aid to Spanish agriculture, the head of the government, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, recalled the "strategic" nature of the agricultural sector.


Besides the CAP reform, the Spanish Presidency wishes to continue work on the competitiveness of the food chain. As of 18 January, EU agriculture ministers should carry out an exchange of views on this theme. Spain believes that rural areas are an essential driver of growth, which must be stimulated by innovation and development - all the more so in the current context of exiting the economic crisis. The Presidency reveals that the...

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