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The EC proposes new conditions for the future 2020 CAP
Brussels has proposed to "modernize and simplify the common agricultural policy" under the budget of EUR 365 billion.
04/06/2018

Phil Hogan, European Commissioner of Agriculture.

For the next long-term EU budget (2021-2027), the Commission proposes to modernize and simplify the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

With a budget of EUR 365 billion, these proposals ensure that the CAP remains a forward-looking policy, supporting farmers and rural communities, guiding the sustainable development of EU agriculture and reflecting the EU's ambition in environmental protection and combating climate change. These proposals give the Member States greater flexibility and responsibility to choose how and where to invest the corresponding amounts of the CAP in order to meet the ambitious objectives set at EU level, in the sense of achieving a sector smart, resilient, sustainable and competitive agriculture, while guaranteeing farmers' income support that is fair and better directed.

As stated by Jyrki Katainen, Vice President responsible for Employment Promotion, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, "the common agricultural policy is one of our fundamental policies and affects the lives of all Europeans. These solid proposals will contribute to improving the competitiveness of the agricultural sector, while at the same time reinforcing its sustainability. With the new performance-based model, we offer more subsidiarity to Member States in order to increase the effectiveness of the policy and to better monitor its results. "

For his part, Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "This proposal responds to the Commission's commitment to modernize and simplify the common agricultural policy, providing genuine subsidiarity for the Member States, guaranteeing a European agricultural sector more resilient, and raising the climate and environmental ambition of the policy .
The main features of the Commission's proposals for a modernized and simplified CAP are these:

1. A new way of working: Member States will have more flexibility in how to use their funding allocations, with the possibility of designing tailored programs that respond more effectively to the concerns of farmers and rural communities more spacious. Member States will also have the option of transferring from direct payments to rural development, and vice versa, up to 15% of their CAP allocations to ensure funding of their priorities and measures. The equality of conditions between the Member States will be achieved in the following way:
  • Strategic plans covering the entire period will be adopted, specifying how each Member State plans to meet the nine economic, environmental and social objectives at EU level, using both direct payments and rural development. The Commission will approve each plan to ensure coherence and protection of the single market.

  • The Commission will closely monitor the performance of each country and progress towards the agreed targets.
2. Fairer treatment through better targeting of aid: Direct payments will continue to be a fundamental part of the policy, guaranteeing stability and predictability for farmers. Priority will be given to supporting small and medium-sized farms, which make up the majority of the EU's agricultural sector, and to helping young farmers. The Commission remains committed to achieving a more equitable distribution of direct payments between Member States through external convergence.
Further:
  • Direct payments to farmers will be reduced from 60,000 and will be limited in the case of payments above 100,000 per farm. Labor costs will be fully taken into account. The aim is to ensure a more equitable distribution of payments.

  • Small and medium-sized farms will receive a higher level of aid per hectare.

  • Countries will have to reserve at least 2% of their allocation for direct payments and dedicate the amount thus obtained to help the establishment of young farmers. This support will be complemented by financial aid for rural development and various measures to facilitate access to land and land transfers.
3. Higher ambitions for the environment and climate action: Climate change, natural resources, biodiversity, habitats and landscapes, all this is addressed in the EU-wide objectives proposed. Farmers' income support is already linked to the application of practices that are respectful of the environment and the climate, and the new CAP will require farmers to achieve a higher level of ambition through both mandatory and incentive-based measures :
  • Direct payments will be conditioned on compliance with reinforced requirements regarding the environment and climate.

  • Each Member State will have to offer green schemes to help farmers go beyond the mandatory requirements, financing such schemes with a percentage of their national allocations for direct payments.

  • At least 30% of each national allocation for rural development will be dedicated to environmental and climate measures.
  • It is expected that 40% of the total budget of the CAP will contribute to climate action.

  • In addition to the possibility of transferring 15% between pillars, Member States will also have the option of transferring an additional 15% from pillar 1 to pillar 2 for expenditure on climate and environmental measures (without national co-financing).
4. Greater use of knowledge and innovation: The modernized CAP will take advantage of all the latest technologies and innovations, thus helping farmers in the countryside and public administrations, in particular through the following elements:
  • a budget of EUR 10 billion from the EU Horizon Research program reserved for research and innovation projects in food, agriculture, rural development and the bioeconomy;

  • promotion of the use by the Member States of big data and new technologies for control and monitoring purposes (for example, the verification by satellite data of the size of holdings for the purposes of direct payment requests), reducing thus significantly the need to carry out on-the-spot checks;

  • the acceleration of the digitalization process of rural life, for example through the expansion of broadband access in rural regions, thus improving the quality of life in these regions and making a greater contribution to improving the competitiveness of agricultural production European.
Next stages

It is essential to reach a quick agreement on the long-term general EU budget and its sectoral proposals to ensure that EU funds start to deliver results on the ground as soon as possible and that farmers have the necessary certainty and predictability to to be able to make decisions about their activities and investments.

Delays similar to those experienced at the beginning of the current budget period 2014-2020 could mean that farmers and national administrations will not benefit from the reduction of bureaucracy, the greater flexibility and the more effective results that the new CAP will bring . A possible delay in the approval of the future budget could also delay the start of thousands of possible new projects across the EU to support farmers and rural communities, in relation to issues ranging from the strengthening of environmental protection to the attraction of new farmers.

The achievement in 2019 of an agreement on the next long-term budget would allow a smooth transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one, thus guaranteeing predictability and continuity of financing for the benefit of all.


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