The EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been a core element of European integration since its origins - but at the same time, it has also been one of the most disputed policies.

Ensuring food security and fair distribution not just in the EU but globally, protecting nature, promoting healthy food and preserving traditional ways of food production while maintaining and modernising a competitive agricultural sector - and all that, ideally, at a 'reasonable' price for the EU budget.

These are only a few of the challenges facing EU policy makers in trying to shape the CAP of the future. All of these – often conflicting - aims will have to be reconciled and taken forward at local and regional level.


Committee of the Regions
Rue Belliard 101, 1040 Brussels
Room JDE 63


English and French

12:15 Registration (ground floor)
12:30 Walking lunch buffet (6th floor)

Debates (room 63, 6th floor)


  • René Souchon
    President of the Auvergne Regional Council (France) and CoR rapporteur on the Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and rural development post-2013
  • Nella Mikkola
    Policy Advisor at Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations and General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives in the European Union (COPA-COGECA)


  • Mark ROGERSON, Director, Consilia Ltd


René SOUCHON is President of the Regional Council of Auvergne (France). He has been a general agricultural inspector since 1990 and was President of the administrative forestry council (ONF) between 1991 and 1996. He has been a member of the Socialist Party since 1971. Mr. Souchon was mayor of Aurillac from 1977 to 1995 and again from 2001 to 2006. Under the government of Pierre Mauroy and then under that of Laurent Fabius, he was a secretary of the State for Agriculture and, in 1985, he became Minister for Agriculture and Forestry. He became vice-President of the Regional Council of Auvergne in 2004, in charge of development and territorial management, proceeding to the post of Regional President in 2006. He was re-elected to this position in March 2010. René Souchon has been a Member of the Committee of the Regions since 2008. He is the PES Group coordinator within the NAT Commission as well as its rapporteur on Rural Development and the Common Agricultural Policy post-2013.

Nella MIKKOLA is Policy Officer at COPA-COPEGA  and  in charge of the  working parties “Rural Development” and “Forestry”. At EU and global level she participates actively e.g.  in the work of  the  European Network for Rural Development (ENRD), the Commission Advisory Groups “Rural Development” and “Forestry and Cork” and  the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE).  She holds   an M.Sc. from  the  University of Helsinki. Prior to joining COPA-COGECA in 2009, Mikkola worked for  the Finnish Agency for Rural Affairs as Senior Officer, where she was in charge of enforcement of Forest laws and regulations in Finland. Mikkola has also  a  background as environmental consultant with knowledge on constant development, waste management, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and environmental legislation. She has also worked as a  researcher at  the  Finnish Forest Research Institute (METLA) in several projects in Finland  in the field of forest management focused particularly on participatory planning, biodiversity and urban forests.

Mark ROGERSON is an experienced communications professional and former TV journalist. An Executive Director of CONSILIA Ltd, he has developed and co-ordinated a range of communications management programmes for clients throughout the EU, including the European Institutions and various trade bodies. He has long experience of assisting the Commission with communication, and the majority of Commissioners, Directors-General and members of the spokesmen's group in successive Commissions have taken part in media training sessions under his supervision. Before he began his career in public relations, his background was as a broadcast journalist with the BBC. He was a producer and presenter on Radio 4's The Financial World Tonight, after which he worked as Economics Correspondent for BBC Television News.


Lunch-Time Debates on Sustainable Europe

The PES Group in the Committee of the Regions and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) are organising a series of lunch-time debates with an invited audience in Brussels, bringing together political experience and outside expertise to challenge existing perceptions and open up to new ideas.

The PES Group + FEPS lunch-time debates  discuss this and other topical issues with an invited audience in Brussels, bringing together political experience and outside expertise to challenge existing perceptions and open up to new ideas.


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