Archive of 2017

A PURPLE Response to EC Consultation on CAP

May 5, 2017

 PURPLE has taken the opportunity to respond to an European Commission (EC) questionnaire recently published as part of a wider consultation exercise on ‘modernising and simplifying the common agricultural policy (CAP)’. The EC’s stated goal for this consultation exercise is to “summarise available evidence on the performance of the CAP so far, draw lessons from the implementation of the latest reform, have a structured dialogue, confirm what the current difficulties are, and anticipate needs for modernisation and simplification of the CAP”.

Whilst PURPLE welcomed the consultation it found that the territorial dimension was largely absent from the exercise and argued that this was a fundamental issue and that, for example, there are particular challenges and opportunities for peri-urban agriculture and other land-uses which need to be recognised and allowed for. The same applies to remote or mountainous regions and other different type ofterritory where it is the character of the territory per se that brings particular opportunities and challenges. In this sense PURPLE has pointed out that it regards the current policy as ‘place blind’.

In its response, PURPLE also stressed that the focus of the exercise was very much on agriculture and that such a strong sectoral focus meant that the exercise suffered from being framed in a way that did not reflect Commissioner Hogan’s stated desire that ”… we keep considering our rural policy as an integrated part of the Common Agricultural Policy and that we strengthen the links between the territorial and the sectorial aspects of this policy rather than weaken them”. This being exactly the point he had expressed to PURPLE in an earlier written exchange with PURPLE President, Mrs Helyn Clack.

When asked whether there was a need to add objectives for a modernised CAP, it was argued that we don’t necessarily need to add new objectives but that the objectives need to be reframed. PURPLE suggested that achieving a balanced territorial development – one of a list of stated possible objectives that respondents were invited to select as priorities in the consultation exercise – was an overarching framework within which all other elements should then be fitted in the most efficient way. PURPLE believes that, by suggesting that balanced territorial development is one of a number of items to be considered in parallel, the consultation exercise ran the risk of the very decoupling of the territorial and sectoral policy dimensions that the Commissioner is keen to avoid.

PURPLE sees balanced territorial development (once clearly defined) as a core objective that needs to be recognised. In this context, it suggests that it would be sensible to have in mind here a balance between both different sorts of territory: urban, peri-urban, rural, and between different thematic considerations: economic, environmental, andsocial. From that starting point other vital considerations and issues can be made to orbit.

Alongside its response to the questionnaire, PURPLE President, Mrs Helyn Clack, submitted an open letter offering further details of the PURPLE stance and expanding on points that she felt could not been made through the format of the questionnaire. A key message in this open letter is that balanced territorial development across Europe should be the starting point for any consideration of rural policy alongside (as opposed to within) Common Agricultural Policy. Mrs Clack’s letter can be downloaded here.

The European Commission plans to communicate the results of the questionnaire at a public conference on 7 July 2017, with a summary to be published online and intends to take the outcome of the consultation into account in its forthcoming Communication on "Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)".

PURPLE Annual Report 2016

Mar 31, 2017

Following the excellent feedback on last year's issue we are pleased to announce that PURPLE's 2016 Annual Report is now available. This four-page document showcases key events and achievements throughout the year and outlines the level of activity from PURPLE's various groups.

The Report can be found here and can be used for general promotional purposes as well as for dissemination within the member regions of PURPLE activities.

PURPLE Executive Board endorses new Work Plan 2017-19

Feb 20, 2017

On 30 January PURPLE’s Executive Board endorsed PURPLE’s Draft Work Plan for the next three years, pending approval by PURPLE’s General Assembly in June.

The Work Plan presents the strategic priorities (Priority Areas) of PURPLE and outlines the core activities (Key Actions) PURPLE intends to focus on in the years 2017 to 2019. The five priority areas are:

  1. PURPLE AISBL arrangements

  2. Promoting the PURPLE profile

  3. EU Funding and Funded Projects

  4. Influencing / Shaping EU and other relevant policy development

  5. Membership and support

Executive Board members hope and expect that a longer-term plan than previously used will provide greater structure, certainty and visibility to the network, both internally and externally.

The same Executive Board meeting also endorsed PURPLE’s Draft Annual Activity Plan for 2017. This marks a departure in the way that network planning is done.  Whilst the Work Plan is an overarching plan for the years 2017 to 2019 and gives strategic direction to the work of PURPLE, Annual Activity Plans will be produced for each year of the Work Plan, are more detailed and act in essence as yearly work programmes. It is intended that the Work Plan and Annual Activity Plan work together and reflect one another.

The Annual Activity Plan provides much greater detail on key actions for each year, including timescales – where appropriate, responsibilities and measures of achievement.

Having the Executive Board endorse the Draft Annual Activity Plan at this point ensures that PURPLE has an interim plan of action pending formal sign-off of both the Work Plan 2017-19 and the Annual Activity Plan 2017 at the next PURPLE General Assembly.

The next step in the process will be to revisit the division of labour so that it can be agreed in June exactly who will take lead responsibility for doing what  For the time being, the lead responsibilities for Priority Areas and Key Actions are shown  in the draft plans as they were in 2016. The Working Group and Lobby Group will be looking at this in late March and a revised and updated version should be ready soon so that work can continue uninterrupted over the forthcoming months pending final sign-off.

PURPLE members can access the Draft versions of the Work Plan 2017-19 and Annual Activity Plan 2017in the Executive Board meeting section of the member restricted area of the website.