Official Journal of the European Union

C 342/10

Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions — The CAP after 2020

(2017/C 342/02)


Guillaume Cros (FR/PSE), Vice-President of the Regional Council of Occitanie




welcomes the European Commission’s approach of involving the European Committee of the Regions in the foresight exercise for the CAP after 2020; observes that agriculture, food and rural areas are facing major challenges which make carrying out a reform of the CAP necessary;


stresses that the CAP has played and must continue to play a fundamental role in European integration; the objectives set out in Article 39 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union remain valid as part of the review process which we are facing;


notes that the agricultural sector is the second biggest industrial employment sector in the EU employing 22 million farmers and 44 million people in the rest of the agri-food chain and providing more than 500 million Europeans with the highest quality food supply at affordable prices. The impact that agriculture has on jobs is even greater if we include the production, repair and marketing of agricultural machinery and the production and marketing of farm inputs;


argues that the CAP should be turned into an agricultural policy that is fair, sustainable, high-quality and based on solidarity for the benefit of farmers, regions, consumers and members of the public; considers that only a strong and common European agricultural and food policy can guarantee food security at European level and ensure that rural areas are dynamic;


notes that arable and livestock farmers are the key players in and the main recipients of the CAP. Without their support it is not possible to implement the measures by which we seek to achieve the desired outcomes. The CAP must take into account their role and their commitment, and in particular the need for agricultural and livestock farms to be economically sustainable in order to ensure decent living conditions, while also maintaining a vibrant rural environment with an adequate level of employment;


believes that the future design of the CAP should take European consumers into consideration. Informing the public of the benefits of the CAP, ensuring food security and guaranteeing environmental protection are challenges that European consumers should face together;


believes that, with a view to making farming attractive and ensuring safe and high quality European agriculture, regulated markets could ensure better pay for farmers by employing public and private management tools and measures which stabilise agricultural prices and prevent unfair trade practices; also believes that the position of farmers needs to be strengthened vis-à-vis other stakeholders in the sector;


recognises that the economic, social, environmental, regional and international legitimacy of the CAP is key to its survival. The European agricultural sector has some key qualities that form the basis of its competitiveness: innovativeness, robust logistics and infrastructure, considerable diversity, the significant natural, cultural and historical assets of agricultural areas, the large number of family-run farms, and a highly developed culture of entrepreneurship, as well as products that conform to strict environmental and health rules. All of these qualities offer potential that we need to make more use of, via a targeted CAP, in order to further strengthen agriculture and rural areas;


believes that the CAP urgently needs reform so as to be more in tune with public expectations and to legitimise its budget, which is much sought after in a context of static budgetary resources;


is convinced that the success of the CAP is founded on unity, and that there must be no shift away from this towards renationalisation in the future, while also hoping that the regions will be strengthened in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity. In retaining its character as a common policy, the CAP must be flexible in order to take account of the different circumstances in agriculture, particularly those of the Mediterranean and outermost regions;


draws the European Commission’s attention to the growing interest among consumers in locally produced, high-quality and fair priced food that meets animal protection standards and has a high environmental and social value, as well as creating jobs and added value; this is also evident from the increase in demand;


believes that the traceability of modes of food production, which is a safety guarantee for consumers and producers, must be enhanced and sustained;


notes farming’s lack of economic appeal as a career in many areas of production and subsectors, which exacerbates the problem of an age pyramid that is very unconducive to generational renewal (1); the fact that few young people are taking up farming represents a threat to the continuation of European family-based agriculture and the vitality of rural areas; believes that measures should be introduced to support the entry of young farmers into the sector;


notes that the CAP, despite having a significant budget, is associated with a considerable decrease in agricultural employment (the number of farms in the EU fell by 20 % between 2007 and 2013); notes that the CAP budget has fallen in percentage terms over the last 30 years, from 75 % to 40 % of the EU’s budget;


stresses that agricultural production should be promoted by the CAP, as provided for by the Treaty, by giving farmers the means to generate their income essentially from the market, at a reasonable and justified cost for European citizens and consumers; points out that numerous studies have demonstrated that the CAP has contributed to the concentration of agricultural production in certain regions at the expense of others, undermining the EU’s territorial cohesion goals;


believes that the CAP must reflect the various agricultural and climate-related circumstances in Europe, especially those of less-favoured areas, such as grassland hilltops, mountain regions, the Mediterranean, north polar regions and outermost regions. The CAP must take account of their functions in safeguarding the land and protecting the soil, and in providing support for maintaining rural communities and their cultural values as well as their role in maintaining an active social system in these regions;


recalls that, despite warnings by the European Court of Auditors, the distribution of public support among farms and Member States remains very unequal; notes that the allocation of direct payments on the basis of surface area has resulted in farmland and direct payments becoming heavily concentrated; the latter should take greater account of the range of farming models, levels of income, added value produced and jobs provided and should ensure that farming is maintained in all regions;


notes that a great many farmers have a very low income that is below the poverty threshold, and that this contradicts the Treaty of Rome’s aim of ensuring ‘a fair standard of living for the agricultural community’ (Article 39) and that it is necessary to make farming incomes more secure (prices, direct aid);


considers that CAP subsidies should only be provided to producers who are actually engaged in agricultural activity, and not to inactive farms that only generate a negligible agricultural income;


notes that, too often, farmers are forced to sell their products at prices that are below their production costs, leading to a spiralling reduction in costs and prices;


supports the conclusions of the EC Agricultural Markets Task Force of November 2016 and calls on the European Commission to propose a legislative proposal to fight unfair trade practices;


notes that the export of EU genetic resources, and animal breeds in particular, is contributing to the genetic erosion of important indigenous breeds, particularly in third countries, and contradicts UN Sustainable Development Goal 15 on preserving biodiversity, in particular genetic resources with food security implications;


believes that, as demonstrated by the CoR study on the Market Responsibility Programme in the dairy sector, market regulation is for many sectors more effective and less costly than the retroactive triggering of crisis measures and would therefore enable the CAP budget to be put to better use;


considers that income insurance schemes could benefit insurance providers rather than farmers and prove expensive for taxpayers in the event that prices fell sharply, without addressing price volatility. A study should be carried out and an assessment made of the insurance regime introduced in the United States; the specific case of outermost regions, which are subject to particular market conditions, should be examined;


considers that there is a need for a clear and stable legislative framework which guarantees arable and livestock farmers the legal certainty they need to be able to make economic decisions in the medium and long term;


stresses that the EU, which is now the world’s largest importer and exporter of food, has increased its dependence on third countries and developed a trade policy that contradicts its aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions;


notes that an increasing proportion of those agricultural products that were previously produced in Europe are now imported from countries with low labour costs, which puts EU food products at a substantial competitive disadvantage in terms of price;


notes also the positive aspects of EU exports for the economy, in terms of agricultural and food products with high added value, which create income and employment in the European agriculture and agri-food sector;


notes that cooperatives and producer organisations and the integration of producers in certain forms may play a key role in the agri-food sectors, allowing the farmers to concentrate supply, reduce costs, provide a number of services and strengthen their position in the food chain;


notes that EU exports of surpluses (milk powder, chicken, tomato purée, etc.) at prices below the cost of production in Europe and in Africa reduce the productive capacity of African countries and encourage rural populations to emigrate, contrary to the EU’s commitment to take account of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 in its ‘policy coherence for development’; also observes that the European Union is the biggest importer of foodstuffs from developing countries, creating jobs in the agri-food sector in these countries; notes however that European imports (fruit, vegetables, lamb, etc.) at prices below the cost of production in Europe reduce productive capacity in the EU and may entail food security risks;


notes that agricultural prices in Europe are increasingly linked to the price of the lowest bidder on the world market and that European farmers are therefore subjected to greater competition, despite the fact that they must comply with more stringent environmental and health standards;


stresses that the added value of agricultural production has been largely extracted upstream and downstream, with the position of agricultural producers vis-à-vis agro-industry and distribution being in many cases too weak; improved coordination along the chain between the agricultural sector, the agri-food industry and the commercial sector must lead to improved distribution of profit margins;


notes that rural areas are falling behind urban areas and that this gap is all the more worrying as it is still growing, partly because the development of big cities and capitals is picking up pace (2);


regrets the accelerated loss of biodiversity on farmland and in the wild, which threatens the resilience of our agricultural systems and natural areas;


is concerned that erosion and soil degradation due to unsustainable farming practices put the fertility of the soil at risk, and that the increasing encroachment of urban areas onto farmland takes up the space that is needed to maintain food security in Europe;


takes note of the agricultural pollution of certain water tables and rivers, as well as the occasional overuse of these waters for irrigation purposes;


stresses that global warming is already having a significant agricultural impact, which makes it all the more urgent to redirect production methods;


highlights the need to invest in digital innovation which can have a positive impact on issues such as sustainability, food safety, resource efficiency, waste reduction and short supply chains, etc.; at the same time, points out that the economic and social effects of such developments with regard to family farming must be carefully studied; and is concerned about the potential use of big data by private companies, which may result in farms being placed under technical and financial supervision;


notes that the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union is likely to lead to a reduction in resources for the CAP as well as a loss of EU markets in the UK; calls on the United Kingdom and the EU to maintain close trade cooperation in the sphere of agriculture and food;


points out that the share of the EU budget devoted to agriculture — despite being only 0,7 % of European GDP in 2014 — is just enough to build a genuine common European policy that is of strategic importance for food security, but that, where rural development and the second pillar are concerned, the resources are not enough in some spheres, and the CAP’s new objectives should therefore be taken into account in the future budget;


rejects the idea of co-financing for the first pillar of the CAP, which would undermine the position of the CAP as the sole integrated EU policy, effectively renationalising it, and would put at a disadvantage farmers in the poorest EU countries who are the most dependent on EU funding;


notes that the cost to public health of certain diets that cause obesity, diabetes, etc., and certain agricultural practices (overuse of antibiotics in some livestock farms, cocktails of pesticides, etc.) is much higher than the CAP budget; points out that closer coordination of agricultural and food policy is needed;


recommends raising awareness about and encouraging the consumption of foods which are part of a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, through specific programmes that support wine, fruits and vegetables, and apiculture, while also improving the quality and added value of these products;


bears in mind the specific features of the outermost regions; given that transposing the European farming model to these regions would not work, Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) expressly allows the Council to adopt specific provisions for adapting EU legislation, including the CAP, to the outermost regions’ circumstances. Here, the post-2020 CAP should retain the differentiated treatment for the outermost regions, by means of necessary adjustments to the EAFRD, POSEI, state aid and other instruments that may be introduced;



proposes that the future European agriculture policy after 2020 should be structured around the following objectives, which are widely shared:


continuing to be viewed as a key policy for the European project;


pursuing the objectives set out in the TFEU and being endowed with an adequate financial package;


developing sustainable and prosperous agriculture anchored in the diversity of rural areas;


guaranteeing the food security of the European population at fair prices;


providing a healthy, nutritious, varied and high-quality diet, promoting the development and consolidation of local chains and paying particular attention to social solidarity and to measures preventing food waste;


applying the principles of the circular economy and the bioeconomy to permit economically profitable activity in rural areas;


stabilising markets and strengthening the position of farmers on the markets;


ensuring a fair standard of living for farmers, in particular through a fair and sufficiently stable income;


guaranteeing the renewal of the largest possible number of farms, which underpin the dynamism of rural areas, and supporting young farmers in particular;


guaranteeing access to funding, knowledge transfer, vocational training and fewer administrative obstacles;


not destabilising the agricultural economies of third countries;


ensuring that all agricultural production methods are based on practices that take care of the health of both farmers and consumers, while also protecting agricultural genetic resources and the environment, including the aquatic environment, by enhancing biodiversity both in the wild and on farmland, and that uphold animal well-being and reduce global warming;


maintaining and protecting agricultural soils over time in quantitative terms by resolutely tackling the soil consumption rate, and improving its quality, fertility and biodiversity by promoting appropriate agricultural practices;


promoting products of designated origin (PDO, PGI) or other quality systems that would generate added value for the chain and the area, making it possible to keep local production systems alive and contribute to promoting rural identity and cultural and gastronomic heritage;


distributing the public funds of the common agricultural and food policy (CAFP) more fairly among farms and Member States according to objective, non-discriminatory criteria, based on their ability to contribute to the EU’s sustainable development objectives, (including accelerating the equalisation of direct payments across the Member States);


applying the proportionality principle to the monitoring system to which farmers are subject;


strengthening the second pillar of the CAP, which aims to improve living conditions in rural areas and to improve the competitiveness of rural areas as a whole;


promoting economic, social and environmental development of all rural areas;


addressing the challenge of depopulation and ageing across many rural areas as a consequence of the lack of living and working opportunities, especially for young people and women;


notes that the complexity of the CAP makes it difficult, or even risky, for individual entrepreneurs and farmers to apply for subsidies. and that simplification is necessary to ensure the continued acceptance and attractiveness of the CAP. The process should be simplified and accelerated, including by streamlining paperwork, for low-value transactions in particular;


hopes that the CAP budget will be kept at a sufficiently high level, consistent with the principles set out in the EU treaties and with its status as the only integrated EU policy, to meet the needs of European agriculture and of rural areas and communities and to respond to the demands made by society;


notes that many of the challenges mentioned above concerning climate, energy, food production and biodiversity can be tackled by the agricultural sector. However, it will be necessary to provide financial support for technical initiatives and innovative solutions, both entrepreneurial and cooperative, in order to speed up the transition;


draws attention to the need, regarding direct and area payments, to concentrate resources particularly on small and family-run farms, while for large farms affected by the capping of aid the priority should be financial solutions;


calls on the European Commission to carry out a detailed assessment of the results of the current CAP when it comes to applying the objectives assigned to it in the EU Treaties in terms of agricultural income and market stabilisation;


recommends tackling the volatility of agricultural prices, providing market-driven income opportunities for farmers and making food chains fairer (3);


calls, on the basis of Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, for the treatment accorded to agriculture in the outermost regions under the POSEI scheme to be maintained, in accordance with the view expressed by the European Commission in its report to the European Parliament and the Council of 15 December 2016 (COM(2016) 797);


calls for increased support for vineyards, olive groves and livestock farming on steep slopes or mountains, disadvantaged, low-yield areas and outermost regions, and for types of agricultural management that help to improve the biodiversity of mountain meadows and pastures;


calls on the EU to use its influence as the world’s largest food importer and exporter to change the international agricultural trade rules introduced in 1994 (WTO) so as to encourage greater fairness and solidarity in trade relations; notes that volatility is a challenge for European agriculture and urges the European Commission to consider measures to mitigate risks arising from increased exposure to the world market;


thinks that an approach in which agricultural revenue is based more on the market than on subsidies can bolster the economic recognition of the job of farming, making it more attractive; to this end advises the EU to regulate its agricultural markets so as to prevent surpluses and shortfalls and stabilise agricultural prices at satisfactory levels;


proposes that an annual precautionary savings fund be introduced, to be carried over to the following year if it is not spent in its entirety (4);


calls on the Commission to guarantee fair conditions in bilateral trade agreements and partnerships entered into with third countries; to this end, views the duty to stop exporting agricultural and food products at prices below the average production costs in Europe as a result of public aid as being connected to the right to protect the EU from cheap imports that frustrate its production capacity or do not meet European production standards;


underlines the importance of short regional and local chains, both because they are more environmentally sustainable as they generate less pollution from transport, and because they promote farming that showcases local quality, tradition and economic and cultural heritage;


calls on the EU to revamp the agriculture sections of bilateral ‘free’ trade agreements and economic ‘partnerships’ with third countries. These agreements should have adequate resources and priority should be given to labour-intensive family farms, with a focus above all on local and regional markets and short supply chains; also calls on the EU to properly reflect the interests of its agriculture sector in trade agreements, in order to minimise the threats for European production, by identifying a strategic list of products which may be vulnerable to excessive pressure; requests that such products which may be sensitive to liberalisation are given appropriate special and differential treatment in trade agreements;


suggests that a review should take place of EU competition law so as to allow all stakeholders in a given sector, including consumers and public authorities, to decide on a fair distribution of the added value and profit margins along the value chain and to allow farmers to move towards a fairer position in the food chain and to strengthen their position on the market;


calls for a review of EU law on awarding public contracts in the mass catering sector, incorporating a locality clause for food supply; also calls for a greater exchange of good practices between local and regional authorities, with a view to promoting local food supply, a local market for organic farming products, and small-scale processing that provides rural jobs;


calls for research funded by the EU budget and the EIB on agricultural and rural cooperation to be geared in particular towards the following aims:


the sustainable efficiency of production processes and farms;


high-quality and environmentally-friendly production methods; agroecology;


restoring degraded agricultural soil fertility and biodiversity;


social innovation in rural areas: local public services for agricultural production methods, small-scale processing and local distribution of agricultural products;


technical innovations that increase the autonomy and resilience of farms;


sustainable forest management;


farming practices aimed at combating climate change;


animal welfare and sustainable solutions for plant and animal diseases;


technological applications for on-the-spot-checks aimed at simplifying methodologies and making them more effective;


calls for a switch from a direct payments per hectare approach to one based on direct payments per hectare capped and modulated per agricultural worker — understood as an active farmer — in order to:


maintain and develop agriculture in agro-climatically disadvantaged areas, including mountain areas, which have higher production costs or have a geographical disadvantage, such as the outermost regions;


support small family farms often with a production volume too low to secure a sufficient income from farming, but which play an important role in revitalising rural areas, emphasising that greater support for the first hectares is crucial to small farms, especially in mountain areas;


support the setting-up of young farmers;


in all regions, support the gradual transition towards production methods that are: more resilient, more autonomous, lower-input, free from chemical pesticides and that protect health; and which: reduce global warming, promote biodiversity, improve water quality and respect animal welfare;


reinforce the development of organic farming;


boost agriculture in areas with high environmental value;


support utilisation of indigenous breeds and varieties to support high added value artisan and specialist food products;


support the development of high-quality regional chains with high added value;


calls, as part of greening, for environmental measures and aid for environment- and climate-friendly practices to be gradually reinforced by means of:


crop rotation, including of leguminous plants, in order to make EU livestock less dependent on plant protein imports and reduce nitrogen fertilisers, which are energy-intensive as well as being major producers of greenhouse gas emissions;


upholding the ban on ploughing permanent grassland, in order to encourage biodiversity and carbon sequestration in the soil;


maintaining ecological focus areas in which the cultivation or use of plant protection products is prohibited, to help prevent biodiversity loss, but allowing limited extensive grazing, which helps to enrich the soil and is of benefit to livestock farmers;


the availability of specific instruments to prevent risks related to climate change;


the introduction of compensation aid, easily accessible and serving to incentivise additional commitments in Natura 2000 areas that have additional commitments related to biodiversity, in high nature value areas and in areas where protected large predators are present;


other greening measures at regional level;


recommends that any award of direct payments to an undertaking that has not respected the social standards in place in its Member State should be reduced, in order to protect the rights of agricultural workers;


calls for a strengthening of the second CAP pillar and an increase in rural development budgets; also calls for a greater degree of subsidiarity enabling Member States to transfer funds from the first to the second pillar;


draws attention to the great contribution made to achieving CAP goals at local and regional level by Community-led Local Development (CLLD) and the LEADER method and therefore recommends that up to 20 % of funds earmarked for the implementation of the second pillar be spent on this under national and regional programmes implementing the CAP;


reiterates that the Member States and regions should be given more power to regulate farmland and set restrictions to that end, particularly to tackle Europe’s land-grabbing and concentration phenomenon, which is limiting young farmers’ options with regard to setting up a farming business (5);


calls for a sufficient share of funds to be set aside for the development of rural areas, by boosting the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), to ensure the harmonious and integrated development of these areas, including the provision of local infrastructure; supporting SMEs, village renewal and wider economic diversification;


recommends that the EU pay special attention to the outermost regions, where the farming sector is fundamental for job and wealth creation as well as for boosting the development of the agri-food industry, research and innovation, steps to safeguard and promote high quality areas of land subject to spatial planning, and efforts to combat climate change;


proposes that the second-pillar funds should be primarily aimed at:


bringing farmers and consumers closer together by means of short supply chains;


support for farmers whose production methods go above and beyond the minimum environmental standards, so as to encourage farming with a high ecological value;


support for the development of environmentally-friendly cultivation techniques, while also maintaining ecosystems of high environmental value and encouraging afforestation of land as a carbon sink;


support for the promotion of innovation and research in favour of more sustainable production and processing methods;


the adaptation of farmers to the markets (e.g. information and advisory services, farm management services, training, etc.);


support for sustainable modernisation of agricultural product processing chains, developed alongside production chains, in a way that does not harm the environment or consumer health and which ensures a fair distribution of added value;


initiatives promoting farmers who set up cooperatives or producer organisations;


risk management advice to address climate and health contingencies;


sustainable investment to adapt the products of family farms to match consumer demand;


support for sectoral development that has an official agricultural quality label;


small-scale processing of local agricultural products;


caterers being supplied with organic and local products;


proposes shifting from a ‘service desk’ approach to a ‘contract’ approach between specific types of farms, sectors and areas; starting with a few objectives (quality, productivity, sustainability), proposes supporting innovation projects designed to this end and capable of producing a significant impact on jobs;

Synergies between EU funds for rural development


proposes strengthening EU financial support for rural development, which has decreased significantly in comparison with the previous programming period, while maintaining sufficient funds available under the first pillar;


proposes substantial, robust support for sustainable investment in maintaining family farms, with regard in particular to production, distribution and diversification;


recommends adopting a rural strategy enabling all EU policies to make a greater contribution to innovation and cooperation in, and the development of rural areas in line with territorial cohesion goals (6);


proposes making it easier to pool the various funds aimed at non-agricultural rural development so as to support:


local initiatives for developing rural employment;


vocational training in rural professions;


technical and social innovation for a society that is post-carbon, digital, circular and user-friendly;


appreciating the economic, ecological and recreational value of forest areas;


promoting partnership and alliances between the agricultural sector and managers of protected areas;


closing the rural digital connection gap;


maintaining and developing local public services;


maintaining and developing attractive landscapes and villages;


rural tourism;


developing local, small-scale, renewable energy sources;


small-scale, local public investments geared to improving the quality of life of rural communities and the viability of undertakings, at least in regions that are lagging considerably behind compared with the average for all Member States;


also advocates making use of the broader potential of agricultural and forest areas — particularly peri-urban areas — for economic, ecological, climate, energy and recreational purposes, such as local food and energy production and rural tourism. This means that the CAP needs to target not only farmers. The LEADER initiatives provide opportunities for rural and peri-urban players to collaborate and innovate, and this must continue;


calls for a thorough assessment of the Structural Funds supporting the development of rural areas and promoting comprehensive policies to boost these areas by improving connectivity in terms of both transport and digital broadband, balanced with environmental protection, by means of the ‘rural proofing’ mechanism recommended in the Cork 2.0 Declaration (7);


stresses that balanced territorial development must provide adequate support for rural and peri-urban areas in the hinterland, as well as disadvantaged areas (e.g. mountainous, border areas or other areas with natural or demographic challenges), in order to secure the necessary investments in growth, jobs, social inclusion and environmental sustainability;


calls for the improvement of rural-urban links, whereby smaller towns and rural municipalities are fully involved, so that EU policies do not encourage a competitive relationship between urban, coastal and rural dimensions;


welcomes the European Commission’s Smart Villages initiative, and the European Parliament’s part in the success of the process, and proposes that this concept be extended to Smart Rural Areas; also asks to be able to play as big a role as possible in discussions on establishing a local and regional framework for action in connection with this initiative;


insists on the need to continue to harmonise the Structural Fund operating rules by means of the common strategic framework so as to facilitate the design and management of rural development programmes and promote integrated and place-based approaches (8);


suggests developing the lead fund approach in order to standardise the management of projects financed from more than one fund;


suggests that a discussion be held on reconciling the various non-agricultural regional development funds.

Brussels, 12 July 2017.

The President of the European Committee of the Regions


(1)  Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions on Supporting young European farmers (OJ C 207, 30.6.2017, p. 57).

(2)  ‘Investment for jobs and growth. Promoting development and good governance in EU regions and cities — Sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion’, European Commission, 23 July 2014.

(3)  Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions on Regulating price volatility of agricultural products (OJ C 185, 9.6.2017, p. 36).

(4)  CoR Opinion (OJ C 185, 9.6.2017, p. 36).

(5)  Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions on Supporting young European farmers (OJ C 207, 30.6.2017, p. 57).

(6)  European Committee of the Regions opinion on Innovation and modernisation of the rural economy (OJ C 120, 5.4.2016, p. 10).

(7)  Cork 2.0 Declaration on A Better Life in Rural Areas, European Commission, September 2016.

(8)  OJ C 120, 5.4.2016, p. 10.