Produce more with less: CAP and digital divide

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by Isabel Espín, Professor at the Law School of Universidade de Santiago de Compostela


1. In a global perspective, the FAO Agenda calls attention to the increase in the world’s population, the rise in average income and the new consumer habits that will result in a greater demand for food in the coming decades, while the impact of climate change on natural resources makes it necessary to reduce the ecological footprint of our food production system. This sends the message that it will be necessary to improve both the productivity and the sustainability of the agricultural sector, which means that farmers will have to “produce more with less”.

Like any other productive sector, global agriculture is undergoing profound transformations related to new digital technologies and artificial intelligence, which gave rise to the concept of Smart Agriculture or Precision Agriculture, in other words, a modern farming management concept using digital techniques to monitor and optimise agricultural production processes.

The aim is to save costs, reduce environmental impact and produce more food, and for this purpose a number of technologies are made available to the farm “used for object identification, geo-referencing, measurement of specific parameters, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), connectivity, data storage and analysis, advisory systems, robotics and autonomous navigation”([i]).

2. In the case of the European Union, the 4.0 revolution in agriculture is also confronted with the particularities of a sector of the economy in constant crisis and always in search of a necessary revitalization. It should not be forgotten that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the most complex policies of the European Union, and which receives a significant share of the Community budget.
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Editorial of December 2018

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 by Sergio Maia, Managing Editor

Multiannual financial framework, budgets and elections: is there room for convergence?

Current status of EU politics barely hides that convergence seems more and more dramatic, as the elections next May are rapidly approaching amidst uncertainty, Brexit and national populisms. Despite the signal Emmanuel Macron attempted to send recently by addressing the German Bundestag – the first French president to do so in 18 years – in favour of unity against chaos, there is little doubt that the moment is of euro-tension, somewhat of pre-storm. Italy is (literally) stepping on the European Commission’s budgetary recommendations; Brexit withdrawal agreement conclusion is an incognita on the British side (there is also the preliminary reference on its revocability under appreciation in CJEU); Steve Bannon is trying to fund extremist right-wing candidates for the European Parliament election; Poland is disguising its real commitment to implement CJEU interim measures; new migration rules are not settled, etc.

On top of that, there is an ongoing negotiation for the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) and in parallel proposals for a Eurozone specific budget as of 2021 – which was the underlying pretext for Macron’s speech at the Bundestag. The original idea of the French president was to equip the Eurozone with a separate budget to assist Member States experiencing instabilities in their economies. In other words, it would serve as a sort of debt mutualisation guarantee in critical times. This was only insidiously mentioned in the Meseberg Declaration, but it was mentioned nevertheless. The motivation for this tool was to provide an enhancement of the general balance between European economies so that the different levels of development in the EMU could be compensated for the benefit of Euro (stabilisation, prices) and trade flow in the internal market.
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