25 Feb 2013
CAP Reform vs WTO: Crop Diversification or Crop Rotation?
Legal opinion prepared by Dr. Christian Häberli at the request of APRODEV, the Association of World Council of Churches related Development Organisations in Europe
The European Commission’s proposals for the Legislative Framework of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the period 2014-2020 include, inter alia, the introduction of a “strong greening component”. For the first time, all EU farmers in receipt of support are to “go beyond the requirements of cross compliance and deliver environmental and climate benefits as part of their everyday activities crop diversification as a contribution to all EU farmers in receipt of support go beyond the requirements of cross compliance and deliver environmental and climate benefits as part of their everyday activities.” In a legal opinion prepared at the request of APRODEV, the Association of World Council of Churches related Development Organisations in Europe (<link http:=""/>
www.aprodev.eu), Christian Häberli examines the WTO implications of this proposal, as compared with an alternative proposal to rather link direct payments to crop rotation. The conclusions are twofold: 1. Crop rotation is at least as likely to be found Green Box-compatible as crop diversification. Moreover, it will be more difficult to argue that crop diversification is “not more than minimally production-distorting” because it entails for most farmers less cost and work. 2. Even if (either of the two cropping schemes) were to be found “amber”, the EU would not have to relinquish this conditionality. This is because the direct payments involved would in all likelihood not, together with the other price support instruments, exceed the amount available under the presently scheduled maximum.