The Portuguese presidency of the European Council has reached a provisional agreement for a “fairer, greener, more animal-friendly and flexible” CAP.
The agreement is provisional, pending approval by the EU’s agriculture ministers at the upcoming Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting. This will take place on Monday and Tuesday next, June 28th and June 29th.
In a brief statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said:
“In preparation for that meeting, the minister and his officials will study the detail of the proposals when this is made available by the presidency.”
“The agreement will also have to be formally ratified by the European Parliament,” the spokesperson added.
According to European Parliament and Council, the new CAP will ensure a fairer distribution of CAP support, especially to small and medium-sized family farms and young farmers.
Each member state will prepare a strategic plan to implement the policy over the next five years. This will allow them to take local conditions into account and focus on performance.
- The CAP will include social conditionality. This means that CAP beneficiaries will have to respect elements of European social and labour law to receive funds.
- Redistribution of income support will be mandatory. Member states will redistribute at least 10% to the benefit of smaller farms. They must describe in their strategic plan how they plan to do this.
- Support for young farmers will have a new mandatory minimum level of 3% of Member States’ budgets for CAP income support to young farmers (farmers up to 40). This could cover income support, investment or start-up aid for young farmers.
- Consistency with the European Green Deal: The new CAP will “fully integrate” EU environmental and climate legislation. CAP plans will contribute to the targets of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. These will be updated to take into account the changes in the climate and environmental legislation from the European Green Deal.
- Conditionality: the minimum requirements CAP beneficiaries have to comply with to receive support are now more ambitious. For example, on every farm, at least 3% of arable land will be dedicated to biodiversity and non-productive elements, with a possibility to receive a support via eco schemes to achieve 7% . All wetlands and peatlands will be protected.
- Eco schemes will be mandatory for member states to offer. This new voluntary instrument will reward farmers for implementing climate and environmentally-friendly practices and animal welfare improvements. Member States must allocate at least 25% of their income support budget to eco schemes. This is a total of €48 billion of the direct payment budget.
- At least 35% of rural development funds will be allocated to agri-environment commitments, which promote environmental, climate and animal welfare practices.
- The CAP budget must contribute significantly to the union’s overall climate spending. To ensure a realistic and robust calculation, by 2025, the Commission will propose a new, differentiated approach that moves beyond the existing methods.
A more flexible CAP
In addition, the new CAP focuses on performance thanks to:
- Simpler rules at EU level.
- An annual performance report to be submitted by Member States to the Commission from 2024 onwards, complemented by an annual review meeting.
- The Commission will review the performance of the CAP strategic plans in 2025 and 2027, to be followed up, when necessary, by a request for action to Member States by the Commission.
- A set of common indicators to monitor the implementation of the CAP and assess the performance of CAP strategic plans.
Strengthening the position of farmers:
- The new CAP maintains an overall market orientation, with EU farms operating according to market signals while taking advantage of opportunities outside the EU resulting from trade.
- Also, it reinforces the position of farmers in the food supply chain by expanding the possibilities for farmers to join forces, including by means of certain exceptions from competition law.
- A new agricultural reserve will be introduced to fund market measures in times of crises, with an annual budget of at least €450 million.
The new CAP, covering three regulations (Horizontal, Strategic Plan and Common Market Organisation regulations), has to be formally approved by
The European Parliament has to formally approve of the new CAP before the council can adopt it.