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14/06/2018

Speech by Commissioner Phil Hogan at Copa-Cogeca Praesidia

President Rukwied, President Magnusson, dear friends,

Thank you for inviting me to attend your Praesidia. Today is a very welcome opportunity to meet so many of you following the launch of the CAP legislative proposal earlier this month.

As you know, I had a meeting with Pekka the evening before the launch of the proposal to provide him with a comprehensive overview of the key changes, for the benefit of your members.

This reflects the importance of Copa-Cogeca. Indeed, close consultation with both Copa and Cogeca has been a constant feature of the process in preparing and drafting this proposal.

Of course, the Commission’s proposal is, in many ways, merely the end of one phase of the process and the start of the most important phase – the inter-institutional phase.  I hope that you will agree that the Commission’s proposal is, at least, a good basis for starting that work and that, working positively and constructively together, we can improve it for the ultimate benefit of our farmers and those living in our rural communities.

MFF/CAP Budget

Let me first address the budgetary issue. I have taken note of your press release which called for the new CAP to be “backed up by a stronger budget”.

You are all well aware that I have been a consistent, visible and outspoken champion of maintaining a strong and well-funded CAP. But you are also well aware of the challenges I was facing in making this case:

Just over nine months from now, the United Kingdom, one of the largest net contributors, will leave the EU and that brings a cut of around €12 billion to the EU budget. This comes at the same time as there is widespread agreement on the need to address new priorities across the EU, particularly in terms of migration, the EMU Stability Tool and the security and defence of European citizens.

Taken together and in the absence, at least to this point, of unanimity on increasing the level of MS contributions to the EU budget, the EU Commission had to frame a budget in very challenging circumstances and present a prudent proposal.

In that context, the Commission’s proposal is for a reduction of 5% in the CAP budget 2021-2027.

I have listened carefully to the reaction of a number Member States, including those made at the Informal Meeting of Ministers in Sofia last week, as well as from MEPs at a COM AGRI meeting earlier this week, in relation to the adequacy of the budget.

There have been strong calls from various sources to at least maintain the existing budget in the next programming period.

As you know, Member States have the option to increase their contributions to the overall MS budget. This decision must be made by unanimity. I am sure that all of you have seen statements by some EU leaders that they do not wish to contribute more finance to the EU budget.

I encourage you to bring the full might of your considerable political influence to bear in addressing this key issue. We are on the same team in this regard.

The final result on the MFF will be in the hands of the European Parliament and those of the Heads of State and Government. I want to remind you that I worked tirelessly to ensure that the Common Agricultural Policy will continue to be the bedrock on which European agricultural production can continue to grow and also on which it can rely, particularly in terms of protecting farm incomes. You must turn your focus to the co-legislators, in whose hands the budget now lies.

Direct Payments

SPEECH CONTINUES

Direct Payments

I have, since the beginning of my mandate, listened very closely to your members, here in Brussels and travelling throughout Europe.

A large part of our proposals comes from the understanding of challenges and opportunities that you and your members have helped me to gain.

The key question arising from these discussions is this: how should we best support our farmers to guarantee our food security, maintain sustainable rural communities, while also responding to our citizens’ expectations of greater climate and environment action?

The choice that the Commission has made in relation to the budget is to prioritise the protection of direct payments, given the essential contribution they make in terms of supporting farm incomes. Without a viable income to make a living, farmers will not survive, let alone provide more public goods and benefits.

I have made this point at every meeting I have attended since becoming Commissioner, and I fought tooth and nail to ensure that Direct Payments remained the top priority in the MFF discussions.

But what is more, I wanted to ensure that no farmer has to be subjected to additional uncertainty as regards direct payments, beyond the ones arising from Brexit and the other challenges in this changing world. In this context, I considered it my specific duty to give our farmers the certainty, stability and predictability that they both deserve and need, particularly in terms of the important investment decisions that many farmers have to make. This proposal is done in this spirit, and the risks of not reaching an agreement on a new legislative framework are, in my view, all on the downside.

Fairness has been an overarching theme in discussions with farmers and with wider society. In an effort to ensure a fairer distribution of payments and, particularly, to help our small and medium-sized farmers, who are the backbone of the European family farm model, the Commission has made a number of proposals with this objective in mind. These include:

  • compulsory capping on direct payments, taking into account labour to avoid negative effects on jobs. MS will have the option to set a lower cap between €60,000 and €100,000. Between these two figures a system of degressivity will apply. The proceeds of capping will be redistributed within each Member State;

 

  • Member States will also be able to offer small farmers a lump sum, a far simpler administrative procedure than calculating amounts originating from different schemes; and

 

  • in terms of internal convergence, MS will have to ensure that, by the end of the new MFF period, no payment per hectare will be less than 75 per cent of the average payment for basic income support for that MS.

Market orientation and food chain

We have had the opportunity to discuss on many occasions the importance of maintaining the market orientation of the CAP. This is essential for preserving the economic sustainability of farming in Europe.

 

What we need to look at is how to support market orientation.

In this light, and bearing in mind the fundamental importance of strengthening the position of farmers in the food chain, the future CAP will provide the possibility to support producer organisations who engage in common actions on production, marketing, reduction of costs, environmental actions and food waste reduction, risk management and other kinds of common actions.

This will be done via financial contributions by the EU to operational programmes, and will be open for all agricultural sectors.

As you can see, we are willing to put new opportunities on the table, very much inspired by our discussions and our own approach in favour of strengthening farmers’ role in the food chain. MS will be able to dedicate up to 3 per cent of the direct payments part of pillar I envelope to such actions, and I sincerely hope that they will take this up. I have no doubt that you will play a very important role in making the case for these measures to your national authorities

I welcome the fact that you described as “positive news” our strong focus on market orientation and competitiveness.

I hope that you will welcome the truly innovative ideas we have put forward in this respect.

We have allowed for the simplification of legal requirements and more flexibility for MS to design appropriate risk management tools; as well as including a chapter on exceptional measures in the CMO regulation.

The existing practice of setting aside a portion of the overall Pillar 1 funding will be maintained to create an ‘agricultural reserve’, which can be used for market measures and exceptional support measures This reserve will be at least €400 million in total every year, and will be filled by rolling over the crisis reserve from 2020 into 2021; in the subsequent years, all unused funds will again be rolled over. Rolling over the reserve, rather than opting to fill the reserve anew each year and reallocate the unused funds to Member States, will significantly reduce the administrative burden.

All these measures should make a real difference in terms of boosting market orientation and competitiveness.

 

Simplification/New delivery model/Climate & environment

I have also take note of your concerns in relation to simplification and the environmental ambition of the proposal.

These dimensions of the proposal follow through on the plans outlined in the Commission’s Communication on the future of food and farming, published last November.

Simplification is at the heart of what we are trying to achieve.

In the past, the policy has quite legitimately been subject to criticism both by administrations and beneficiaries, in terms of complexity and administrative burden.

When I took this job, President Juncker asked me to simplify the policy and that is what I have done. Simplification has been my consistent top priority and we have made real progress: bringing in the “Yellow Card” system for first offenders, improving risk management tools, establishing clearer rules governing intervention in markets, and giving greater flexibility for MS to support specific sectors of economic, social or environmental importance through voluntary coupled support.

Two aspects of the new delivery model will ensure genuine simplification.

The first of these aspects is that rules will be defined much closer to the daily reality of beneficiaries.

MS will, in future, select the measures and set the rules in operational terms, such as the detailed eligibility criteria and based on the CAP plan;

there should more transparency and accountability and better understanding, including legal certainty, due to the relationship between those setting the operational details and the beneficiary; and

measures and rules can be defined in a more targeted way in line with the real needs and conditions of beneficiaries.

The second aspect of the delivery model which can deliver simplification is the shift in focus from rules and compliance to results and performance.

In future, the Commission audits will focus on general principles and systems

The use of new technologies will simplify, speed-up and automate many of the administrative procedures.

Beneficiaries will have improved access to impartial farm advice; and assistance in their applications for support, and reporting requirements for administrations, will be streamlined.

Freely available earth observation data captured by the Copernicus Sentinel satellites and other innovative technologies provide significant information on agricultural activities across the EU. Using these technologies will modernise the administration, monitoring and overall operation of the CAP and have multiple benefits for farmers and Member States’ administrations.

The future CAP will use a system based on systematic, year-round remote observation of agricultural activities.

This will serve the dual purpose of ensuring, at a comparatively low cost, the availability of EU-wide comprehensive and comparable data for policy monitoring purposes as well as replacing classical control methods like on-the-spot checks which should reduce the administrative burden and in all likelihood the control burden on farmers.

Such an approach will help farmers to:

decrease the time and complexity spent to submit applications for CAP aid; some Member States are even considering developing “seamless claim systems”;

become partners with administrations in the process of checking the fulfilment of eligibility requirements; this means less time spent with inspectors on the field and more opportunities to actively fulfil eligibility conditions;

  • fulfil their CAP obligations thanks to warning alert systems;
  • benefit from synergies with other digital technologies, such as crop monitoring and yield forecasting, to manage their farms better; further automation of activity recording can reduce associated paperwork.

Furthermore, to limit the administrative burden for beneficiaries, MS will pre-fill the application with as much up-to-date and reliable information as possible. This can go as far as developing an almost ‘claimless system’ of application where the farmer would only be asked to confirm the declaration provided by the administration.

I want to assure you the CAP remains a truly Common policy – with a capital C – based on the right balance between that common nature and the necessary flexibility for Member States to respond more effectively to local conditions than is currently the case under a quite rigid “one-size-fits-all’ approach.

With a CAP less focused on rules, and more on performance, we can reduce the administrative burden to the farming community, without receding in any way from the common vocation of the CAP.

This is the balance the Commission has sought, to ensure that the policy delivers not only for farmers but also for our citizens, who all have a stake in the CAP.

Let me explain precisely what safeguards we are proposing to ensure that we do not have ‘renationalisation’

the legislation will include common EU objectives, basic EU requirements applicable to the types of interventions, as well as several important common elements;

the approval of the CAP Strategic Plans will include a thorough assessment of the completeness, consistency and coherence and the effective contribution to the CAP objectives of the national strategy and MS will be supported by the Commission in the preparation of the CAP plans;

annual performance reporting will allow for the early detection of risks and the first signs of underperformance. Depending on the circumstances, the Commission will be able to take appropriate corrective action, including the request to MS to draw-up an action plan, suspension of payments and financial correction. Of course, we will focus on helping MS to get things right for farmers  and finally;

appropriate evaluation requirements have to be designed to allow a timely assessment of the performance of the policy as well as take on board lessons. While the MS will be responsible for the evaluation of the Strategic Plans, the Commission will present a report on the first results of the performance, based on the first three years of the implementation of the Strategic Plans.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I have taken note of your concerns, as my services and I have done at every stage of preparing and drafting this proposal.

However, I would ask that you bear one key fact in mind in the coming weeks: we are on the same team. Like you, I am standing firm behind a strong and well-funded CAP for the future. It is now up to all of us to use our influence where it counts. Thank you.

14/06/2018

IFA SETS PRIORITIES ON CAP RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must deliver a well-financed and ambitious Rural Development Programme (RDP) in the forthcoming CAP negotiations – that was the clear message from this week’s IFA National Rural Development Committee meeting.
As a first priority it is vital that the funding available in the current RDP is fully utilised, Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said.

“Minister Creed appears to be in denial about the fact that, as the situation stands, not all funding will be used. IFA has identified underspend across a number of schemes, in particular in TAMS, and to a lesser degree in Knowledge Transfer, GLAS, the Sheep Welfare Scheme and other measures.

“The Minister has got to realise that his hand will be strengthened in the CAP Budget discussions at EU level if the full RDP allocation of €4bn, which includes €2.1bn of EU funds, is fully utilised over the 7 years of the programme up to 2020.”

Joe Brady said it is unacceptable that the EU Commission is proposing to cut the EU funding and the co-financing rate in the RDP post-2020. At the level of EU funding proposed, to maintain the €4 billion RDP budget currently available, Ireland’s national contribution would have to increase from €1.8 billion to €2.24 billion.

IFA is proposing that the RDP for CAP post-2020 increases by 25% to €5bn over the period 2020- 2027. This would cover IFA proposals for:

  • an increased annual allocation of €300 million for ANCs;
  • a new agri-environment scheme with a payment of up to €10,000 for farmers, involving a whole farm payment and higher payments for those with designated Natura land;
  • measures to help young farmers; and,
  • a strong on-farm investment scheme.

Joe Brady said significant details in the proposed EU legislative framework will have to be worked through to make farm schemes more effective so that they have a greater impact on farm income.

He said, “Minister Creed has go to show his teeth at Cabinet level to argue the case for a strong RDP post-2020, with additional national co-financing. The importance of establishing a robust RDP is critical as this is a 7 year programme and sends a strong signal to farmers about the role the Government sees for ongoing Rural Development supports, particularly for areas which have not benefited from the recent economic upturn.”

 

 

05/06/2018

IFA PRESIDENT ADDRESSES EU AGRICULTURE MINISTERS ON CAP BUDGET

IFA President Joe Healy is addressing the informal EU Farm Council meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Bulgaria today on the CAP post-2020 and the importance of an increased budget.

As Vice President, Joe Healy is deputising for the President of the European farm organisation COPA at the meeting. He will stress that proposed cuts to the CAP Budget are a major threat to farming and must be strongly resisted.

“The fundamental issue for farmers is the size of the CAP Budget. It is completely unacceptable that any cut is being contemplated when farmers are already struggling on low incomes and are being asked to do more under CAP proposals.”

The IFA President has called on the Agriculture Ministers, including Michael Creed, to make it clear that they cannot accept the Commission proposals on the CAP Budget announced last week.

Joe Healy said, “They must insist on a CAP budget that takes account of inflation and the cost of any additional measures imposed on farmers”.

01/06/2018

GOVERNMENT MUST FIGHT BACK AGAINST CAP BUDGET CUT

Proposed cuts to the CAP Budget are a major threat to farming in Ireland and must be strongly resisted, IFA President Joe Healy said today following the launch of CAP 2020 proposals by Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels.

“The fundamental issue for farmers is the size of the CAP Budget. It is completely unacceptable that any cut is being contemplated when farmers are already struggling on low incomes and are being asked to do more under CAP proposals.

“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar must make it clear at EU Heads of State level that the recent Commission proposals on the CAP Budget are a non-runner.

Joe Healy said, “The Taoiseach must insist on an increased budget to take account of inflation and the cost of any additional measures imposed on farmers. Minister Creed met with like-minded Ministers for Agriculture to build alliances on this issue yesterday and this must be followed up by the Government to ensure farmers are not left short in the Budget negotiations. The future of farming and rural Ireland is at stake.”

He said the proposals on the Budget from the Commission are a not a ‘fair’ outcome and farmers would see through any attempt to put a spin on the situation. “The proposals are unfair and unacceptable and must be rejected,” he said.

Joe Healy said, “All sectors have shared in the economic revival, yet farmers have had their direct payments eroded by inflation. At the very least, farmers need a CAP increase in line with inflation”.

He emphasised that CAP is a policy that benefits all EU citizens, “CAP is intended to provide farmers with a fair standard of living to support them to produce a sustainable supply of safe high-quality food for consumers at affordable prices. Because of CAP, the average household spend on food has reduced from 30% to just 15%. Farmers are also expected to deliver public goods and meet society’s expectations on the environment and climate change.”

Now the detail of the CAP proposals has been released, IFA will be intensifying its campaign to ensure that direct payments continue to play a significant part in supporting active farmers and reflect the important role farmers play in the provision of public goods.

This will include lobbying at a national and EU level, engaging with MEPs and TDs. IFA has already lobbied more than 80 TDs & Senators, where there was strong support for farmers and the CAP as vital to support low incomes.

01/06/2018

LEGAL TEXTS

Legal texts on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plans

 

Legal texts on financing, management and monitoring of the CAP

 

 

Legal texts on common organisation of the markets

 

Impact assessments

 

 

 

Legal texts on the Environment and Climate Action Programme (LIFE)

 

 

 

 

 

Factsheets

 

 

 

01/06/2018

EU budget: the Common Agricultural Policy beyond 2020

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

With a budget of €365 billion, these proposals make sure the CAP remains a future-proof policy, continues to support farmers and rural communities, leads the sustainable development of EU agriculture and reflects the EU’s ambition on environmental care and climate action. Today’s proposals give Member States greater flexibility and responsibility for choosing how and where to invest their CAP funding in order to meet ambitious goals set at EU level towards a smart, resilient, sustainable and competitive agricultural sector, while at the same time ensuring a fair and better targeted support of farmers’ income.

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President in charge of Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness said: “The Common Agricultural Policy is one of our core policies and affects the lives of all Europeans. These solid proposals will contribute to the competitiveness of the agricultural sector, whilst at the same time they reinforce itssustainability. With the new delivery model we provide more subsidiarity to the Member States in order to improve the effectiveness of the policy and to better monitor its results.”

Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “Today’s proposal delivers on the Commission’s commitment to modernise and simplify the Common Agricultural Policy; delivering genuine subsidiarity for Member States; ensuring a more resilient agricultural sector in Europe; and increasing the environmental and climate ambition of the policy.”

The main features of the Commission’s proposals for a modernised, simplified CAP are:

1. A new way of working: Member States will have more flexibility in how to use their funding allocations, allowing them to design tailor-made programmes that respond most effectively to farmers’ and wider rural communities’ concerns. Member States will also have the option to transfer up to 15% of their CAP allocations between direct payments and rural development and vice-versa to ensure that their priorities and measures can be funded. A level playing-field amongst Member States will be ensured through:

  • Strategic Plans covering the whole period, setting out how each Member State intends to meet 9 EU-wide economic, environmental and social objectives, using both direct payments and rural development. The Commission will approve each plan to ensure consistency and the protection of the single market;
  • The Commission will closely follow each country’s performance and progress towards the agreed targets.

2. A fairer deal through better targeting of support: Direct payments will remain an essential part of the policy, ensuring stability and predictability for farmers.Priority will be given to supporting the small and medium-sized farms that constitute the majority of the EU’s farming sector, and to helping young farmers. The Commission remains committed to achieving a fairer distribution of direct payments between Member States through external convergence.

In addition:

  • Direct payments to farmers will be reduced as of €60,000 and capped for payments above €100,000 per farm. Labour costs will be taken fully into account. This is designed to ensure a fairer distribution of payments;
  • Small & medium-sized farms will receive a higher level of support per hectare;
  • Countries will have to set aside at least 2% of their direct payment allocation for helping young farmers get set up. This will be complemented by financial support for rural development and different measures facilitating access to land and land transfers.

3. Higher ambitions on environmental and climate action: Climate change, natural resources, biodiversity, habitats and landscapes are all addressed in the EU-wide objectives proposed today. Farmers’ income support is already linked to the application of environment and climate-friendly practices 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 conditional on enhanced environmental and climate requirements;
  • Each Member State will have to offer eco-schemes to support farmers in going beyond the mandatory requirements, funded with a share of their national direct payments’ allocations;
  • At least 30% of each rural development national allocation will be dedicated to environmental and climate measures;
  • 40% of the CAP’s overall budget is expected to contribute to climate action;
  • In addition to the possibility to transfer 15% between pillars, Member States will also have the possibility to transfer an additional 15% from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 for spending on climate and environment measures (without national co-financing).

4. Greater use of knowledge and innovation: The modernised CAP will take advantage of all the latest technologies and innovations, thereby helping both farmers in the field and public administrations, notably through:

  • A budget of €10 billion from the EU’s Horizon Europe research programme set aside for research and innovation projects in food, agriculture, rural development and bioeconomy;
  • Encouraging Member States to use big data and new technologies for controls and monitoring (for example, verifying farm sizes for direct payment claims using satellite data), thus significantly reducing the need for on-the-spot controls;
  • Stepping up the digitisation of rural life, for example through extending broadband access in rural regions, thereby improving the quality of life in such regions and further contributing to the competitiveness of European agricultural production.

Next steps

A swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results on the ground as soon as possible and that farmers are provided with the necessary certainty and predictability for their business and investment decisions.

Delays similar to the ones experienced at the beginning of the current 2014-2020 budgetary period could potentially mean that farmers and national administrations would not benefit from the reduced bureaucracy, greater flexibility and more effective results that the new CAP will bring. Any delays in approval of the future budget would also delay the start of thousands of potential new projects across the EU designed to support farmers and rural communities, tackling issues from strengthening environmental protection to attracting new farmers.

An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and continuity of funding to the benefit of all.

For more information

Factsheets and the legislative proposals are available here

MEMO: The Common Agricultural Policy beyond 2020

More information on the EU budget for the future can be found here

IP/18/3985

25/05/2018

CAP: Modernising the Common Agricultural Policy: satellite data authorised to replace on-farm checks

As part of its ongoing move to simplify and modernise the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the European Commission has adopted new rules that will for the first time expressly allow a range of modern technologies to be used when carrying out checks for CAP payments. This includes the possibility to completely replace physical checks on farms with a system of automated checks based on analysis of Earth observation data. The new rules, which came into force this week, will allow data from the EU’s Copernicus Sentinel satellites and other Earth observation data to be used as evidence when checking farmers’ fulfilment of requirements under the CAP. Under current CAP rules, EU member states are required to carry out a number of checks on farms as part of the Integrated Administration and Control System, which ensures that any payments made to farmers from the CAP budget are made correctly. The new rules will allow those Member States that wish to do so to eventually replace or complement on-site checks with automated and less burdensome controls. Among other benefits, this will reduce significantly the time spent by farmers with inspectors in the field and farmers will also be able to benefit from synergies with other digital technologies, such as crop monitoring and yield forecasting, to manage their farms better. Paperwork can also be reduced through the improved automation of activity recording. Further measures aiming at simplifying and modernising the policy and its implementation for farmers and administrations will be unveiled next week as part of the proposals for the future CAP. More information on the new rules for satellite data is online.

21/04/2018

CAP: Citizens’ Dialogue in Ireland: Commissioner Hogan discusses the future of food and farming

Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan will today participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue on the future of food and farming in Kilkenny, Ireland. Entitled “Making CAP 2020 work for you”, the dialogue will focus on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its implications for Irish farmers. Commissioner Hogan will be joined on stage by Mr. Joe Healy, President of the Irish Farmers’ Association. Commissioner Hogan presented on 29 November the orientations proposed by the European Commission on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy. This Citizens’ Dialogue is part of a series of engagements between the Commission and key stakeholders in the agri-food sector that are ongoing throughout the Union since the adoption of the Commission’s Communication. Citizens’ Dialogues are a regular feature of the daily work of the Juncker Commission. All Members of the Commission travel to regions and cities across Europe to engage in dialogue with citizens and listen to their views and expectations concerning the future of the Union. Since the beginning of the mandate, over 130 dialogues were held in more than 80 towns. Today’s Dialogue with Commissioner Hogan will start at 19h and will be web-streamed here.

19/04/2018

Future of CAP: Equality throughout the chain

We don’t always think about where our food comes from, and if we do we rarely imagine the different steps taken to get to the end product, ready for consumption. Starting as fresh milk from a cow and finishing its journey in a supermarket or a local cheese shop, your cheese has gone through the whole food supply chain before being added to your favourite pasta dish.

Food supply chains differ in size and number of operators but are rarely to the advantage of the farmers. Their negotiating power is usually weaker than bigger elements of the chain, such as retailers, and this can result in the value throughout the supply chain not being adequately distributed.

 

What is being done at EU level?

With about 11 million farms and 44 million people employed in the EU food supply chain, ensuring that the chain remains balanced and fair for everyone is of great importance at European level. In January 2016, Commissioner Phil Hogan launched the Agricultural Markets Task Force with a view to looking into ways of strengthening the position of farmers in the wider food chain. This group of experts from across the food supply chain met regularly, concluding with a report in November 2016. The report focused on three areas for legislative measures: producer cooperation, unfair trading practices and market transparency.

Regarding unfair trading practices (UTPs), a new legislative proposal was presented by the European Commission on 12 April 2018. Its aim is to ban the most damaging UTPs such as late payments and last minute order cancellations for perishable food products. Other practices will only be permitted if agreed to by both parties, for example the return of unsold food products to a supplier.

MORE

The new rules mean that for the first time a minimum standard of protection against these UTPs will be set in each member state. In addition, the proposal includes the designation of a national authority to enforce the rules for each member state, crucial when tackling the ‘fear factor’ sometimes imposed on small suppliers by buyers threatening them to freeze them out of future commercial relationships.

As for producer cooperation, producer organisations – or their associations – have been shown to contribute significantly to strengthening the position of farmers in the food supply chain. Farmers are therefore encouraged to form recognised producer organisations, helping them with optimising costs and improving the marketing of products for example . The so-called Omnibus regulation, which entered into force on 1 January 2018, has extended prerogatives of these types of organisations to all sectors in agriculture.

The third recommendation from the AMTF – increasing market transparency – is also being addressed. The Commission has developed a variety of market observatories, for milk, meat, sugar and crops, that give far greater transparency to the development of the markets and help farmers to plan more effectively.

Innovation in the food supply chain

Nonetheless, innovation in the EU food supply chain needs to also happen at a local level. The agricultural European Innovative Partnership (EIP-AGRI) is helping farmers and producers innovate in the food supply chain through operational groups (local projects which test, refine and develop innovative solutions for problems faced by farmers) and focus groups (groups of selected experts which focus on a specific subject to share knowledge and experience, and explore innovative solutions to problems or opportunities).

One such group focused on ‘Innovative short food supply chains’, looking at ways to stimulate the growth of short food supply chains in Europe to increase farm income. Its final report highlighted the great potential of collaborative food supply chains.  These chains are created when more than one farmer, food producer, organisation or individual decide to work together, gaining mutual benefits such as improving the product range, sharing resources amongst producers and processors, and reducing competition between small producers. In addition, four major challenges were identified: setting up and getting support, product development, access to markets and consumers, and infrastructure and logistics.

Meanwhile, the SYAM operational group is exploring intermediary supply chains – those chains which involve too much volume to be considered ‘short’ but which are working with strong branding based on provenance. It has supported the ‘Saveurs Iseroises’ breeders’ project, working with producers, artisan butchers and two supermarkets to develop a sustainable partnership. Linked by a local supply contract to supply superior quality meat, all the actors involved have confidence in the sustainability of the partnership. The process and prices are fully transparent, as it is understood that each operator of the supply chain adds value. A written technical specification to ensure quality has also been agreed on by all partners, guaranteeing a superior product to consumers.

Co-financed by EU funds, a Slovenian farmers’ cooperative has also innovated to better respond to consumer needs as well as promoting agribusiness. Thanks to a first transport vehicle, Jarina farmers’ cooperative started with delivering locally grown food to one school and one kindergarten. Since then the number of farmers involved in the cooperative, clients and sales volume has significantly increased. This has allowed them to buy a second vehicle, now delivering to around 80 nurseries, schools and retirement homes in central Slovenia. In addition to this, they have organised grouped deliveries of fruit and vegetable boxes at customers’ workplaces. To do this, they developed a ‘webgarden’ – an online ordering system, where a number of customers choose their fruit and vegetables boxes and get delivered at the end of the day at their organisation.

The Copenhagen city government has also innovated in bringing local and organic food closer to urban consumers. They are responsible for food procurement for public kitchens, including those of hospitals, schools and homes for the elderly. Their goal is to improve the supply of seasonal, fresh, high quality ingredients into the public food systems. To do this, a whole process was put in place starting with asking the kitchens their specific needs. They then get in touch with potential suppliers to see what can be provided. A tender needs to be written by the supplier. The city offers advice on how to fill them as well as a common template to simplify the process as much as possible and ensure good contracts.

What’s next?

Putting in place the European directive proposed on the 12 April to fight unfair trading practices should improve the position of farmers and set a baseline for all EU member states. Additional reflections to further promote producer organisations are also needed, having shown their efficiency in empowering farmers and producers. Nonetheless, local projects should continue to explore ways for fairer food supply chains, supported by EU funds such as the European Agricultural Funds for Rural Development or Horizon2020.

More information

Unfair trading practices in the food chain
EIP Workshop ‘Innovation in the supply chain: creating value together’
EIP Workshop ‘Cities and Food – Connecting Consumers and Producers’
Communication on the future of food and farming

22/03/2018

Future of CAP – Sustainability at the water source

 

Water is an essential component of agri-food production. But while many fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of water, growing them often also requires significant quantities of water. Without sufficient, good quality and easily accessible water, European agri-food production could be under threat.

On average, 44% of total water use in Europe is on agriculture, reaching as high as 80% in some regions. With a rising global population and climate change increasing the risk of adverse climate conditions such as droughts, pressure on the natural resource is growing. This is why the European Commission has developed both short and long term strategies to ensure more sustainable water use.

European policy tools

Under the current common agricultural policy, the so-called cross-compliance mechanism contributes to a sustainable water usage by obliging farmers to meet specific agri-environmental targets, including for water, in order to receive their direct payment support. Other measures such as the establishment of ecological focus areas and permanent grassland also contribute to sustainable water preservation. They protect biodiversity, including water, through limiting the use of pesticides in those areas.

The common agricultural policy’s rural development programmes also play a role in promoting sustainable water usage. Funded by the European agricultural fund for rural development and managed by the member states in collaboration with the Commission, the programmes are designed around six priorities, one of which is the promotion of resource efficiency. There are many good examples from around the EU of European funding being put to good use in protecting water, for example the training session on small-scale water retention provided to 150 people in the Łódź region of Poland. With climate change, increasing the risk of droughts in Poland, the potential impact on agriculture there is significant, and the EU-funded project was designed to provide practical knowledge and methodologies for preserving water.

Innovating for water sustainability

EU research and innovation in the sector is also helping in making water consumption more efficient. Through funds such as Horizon2020, support is given to projects innovating and using precision farming to improve water usage. In La Mancha, Spain, overuse of water resources to irrigate agricultural nearly caused the groundwater basin to dry out. Since then a project has been set up to offer support tools for local farmers. One such tool, for example, allows farmers to estimate the water consumption of their crops while checking if it complies with the amount of water they are legally allowed to use for irrigation. Another tool, known as OPTIWINE, can be used to calculate the exact quantity of water to apply to vineyards, improving grape quality while reducing water consumption. The calculations are based on satellite data and data collected by weather, plant and soil sensors installed on the ground.

On-farm support

The European Commission is also looking at other means of ensuring sustainable water usage in the future. A task force on water has been set up with the aim of boosting investment and spreading best practices in European agriculture. The task force has already outlined the main threats to water quality and availability in the EU and, in partnership with the Commission’s science and knowledge service, is currently setting up a knowledge hub on water and agriculture. The hub is due to be fully operational by the end of 2018, and will link and integrate existing sources of information while generating new knowledge on every aspect of water use. The hub will be widely accessible via an internet portal.

The Commission is also working on water quality and sustainable farming via a joint initiative from the departments in charge of agriculture, climate action, and science and knowledge to create an EU-wide platform for on-farm nutrient management. This tool will compile information such as satellite data, soil sampling and land parcel information and will be directly accessible to farmers in order to help them take informed decisions on nutrient requirements. The hope is that the platform will eventually lead to a two-way data exchange between farmers and public authorities, supporting the implementation of a whole range of further environmental commitments.

What’s next

With increasing pressure on water availability and quality, the European Commission will continue to encourage and invest in sustainable water usage in agriculture. In its Communication on the future of food and farming, published on 29 November 2017, the Commission has proposed a new way of working with member state to ensure funding is targeted to where it is needed most. For example, while sustainable water use targets might be set at the EU level, how these targets are met would be up to each national authority to decide based on their own specific circumstances. In the context of water and agriculture, this will allow EU funding to better respond to local needs.

To achieve more ambitious results, the future common agricultural policy will also continue to invest in and encourage research and innovation in the sector. With the implementation of “smart irrigation” technologies and nutrient management tools, water usage is already improving. The future policy will also ensure that the digital farming revolution reaches all EU farms.

More information

Communication on the future of food and farming

Cross-compliance mechanism

20/03/2018

Communication on “The Future of Food and Farming” – Presidency conclusions

Following the debate at the “Agriculture and Fisheries” Council on 19 March 2018, here are the Presidency conclusions on the Communication on “The Future of Food and Farming”, supported by Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and United Kingdom.

“The Presidency Conclusions contain a vision about the main elements of the future CAP that is shared by the majority of the Member States. I would therefore like to thank all my colleagues in the Council and their teams for the spirit of agreement, for the consensual mood and for all the hard work and good cooperation over the past months.” 

The Presidency conclusions come after months of intense negotiations between member states. The in-depth discussion about the next CAP started under the Estonian presidency of the Council. In January, under the Bulgarian Presidency, ministers discussed the CAP’s added value, the EU’s key objectives to be maintained and the appropriate level of subsidiarity. In February, they addressed direct payments, environmental and climate action and rural development.

Today’s conclusions embody the views expressed by the majority of the member states during these two debates. They call for the CAP’s added value in delivering on new challenges to be enhanced, member states to be empowered to take decisions fitting local needs and specificities, the resilience of the agricultural sector to be strengthened, the CAP’s contribution to environmental objectives to be fostered, and quality of life in rural areas to be improved.

19/03/2018

Main results Agriculture Council  (results in full here)

Ministers exchanged views on the Commission’s communication on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). During the debate, a large number of member states expressed their support for Presidency conclusions on the communication. These conclusions are intended to make a positive contribution to the debate that will lead to the drafting of legislative proposals on the future CAP.

Infographic – The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)   See full infographic

The main message from today’s debate is strong and clear: we want a future Common Agricultural Policy that is forward-looking, effective and fair. A CAP that gives tangible benefits to all EU farmers and citizens.

19/03/2018

European Court of Auditors Briefing paper: Future of the CAP

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is up for review, as the current seven-year planning period for EU finances and policy implementation ends in 2020. In November 2017 the Commission published a Communication on the future of food and farming, which presents its thinking on the post-2020 CAP.

This briefing paper is our response to the Commission’s Communication. In this document we analyse key trends and data relevant to agriculture and rural areas, present our views on the current CAP, and discuss criteria and key challenges for the new CAP.

06/03/2018

IFA SAY TAOISEACH MUST INSIST ON INCREASED CAP BUDGET

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar must back farmers and insist on an increased CAP budget when he meets with EU Commissioner for Budget, Gunther Oettinger today (Tues) in Dublin to discuss the EU Budget for the seven years post-2020, IFA President Joe Healy has said.

Joe Healy said Irish agriculture must be strongly supported through CAP to continue to deliver for the economy, the environment, and society. IFA has make a strong case for each Member State to increase its contribution to the EU Budget from 1 to 1.2% of Gross National Income, to reflect the impact of Brexit on the one hand, and the improved EU economic conditions on the other.

“Since 1990 the percentage of overall EU budget that is going to the CAP has fallen from 70% to 38% and the real value of payments to farmers has fallen as they haven’t kept pace with inflation. Any further cut would be a disaster for agriculture and rural Ireland,” he said.

“Despite the contribution the sector makes to the EU economy and public goods, farming remains a low-income activity. Direct payments from CAP make up more than 100% of incomes in some sectors and it is vital that the budget available for these payments and other support measures is increased.”

Joe Healy was speaking as EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Gunther Oettinger is due to hold a number of meetings in Dublin, including with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to discuss the Multiannual Financial Framework post-2020 and EU finances.

02/03/2018

14/02/2018

Communication from the Commission on “The Future of Food and Farming” – Information from the Commission – Exchange of views

Subject: 6066/18 Communication from the Commission on “The Future of Food and Farming”

– Information from the Commission

– Exchange of views

30/01/2018

Speech by Commissioner Phil Hogan on “New CAP Delivery Model” at Event for ENRD, Rural Development Managing Authorities and MS Paying Agencies

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning, it’s great to see so many of you here in Brussels today. The ENRD is a very important forum, because it maintains necessary linkages and dialogues between different rural areas and different rural development programmes.

And I am also pleased that we have representatives from Rural Development Managing Authorities and MS Paying Agencies here today. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

I welcome the opportunity to engage with you at this important juncture in the evolution of our EU rural development policy. In the coming months, your networking and information-sharing capacity will be called upon in a major way.

A little over 12 months ago, I spoke at the ENRD’s joint workshop with CEJA on “Generational Renewal through Rural Development”.

I mentioned then that we were at the start of a journey to begin designing the future CAP. Now, 12 months later, we have come a long way!

In late 2017, the Commission published a Communication on the Future of EU Food and Farming. This document is a roadmap for the Commission’s preferred direction of travel for the next budgeting period of the CAP.

My view is that the current broad architecture of the CAP works quite well, so what I am proposing will be an “evolution rather than a revolution”.

When it comes to ensuring that the EU budget is spent correctly, the CAP generally performs well – with a very low error rate.

The 2013 reform reinforced the targeting of our interventions, giving MS much greater freedom to define schemes in the first pillar. However, the other side of the coin was a more complex policy framework where exemptions seem to be the rule.

Complex and sometimes overlapping policy frameworks lead to complexity in implementation, with issues such as double funding, and all of this trickles down and causes administrative burden on farmers and other beneficiaries.

It will not surprise you to learn that last year’s public consultation on the future CAP highlighted simplification as one of the key issues at stake.

This of course echoes the conclusions of the Cork 2.0 Conference on the future of EU Rural Development which favoured a more effective and simplified implementation of the CAP.

At the same time, it was also clear from both assessments of the CAP and the public consultation that the policy could and should deliver more and better results on behalf of EU citizens.

In particular, successive Eurobarometer surveys have shown that the issue of protecting the environment and tackling climate change is an increasingly important priority for our people.

This is emphasised in the data emerging from the most recent survey, the fieldwork for which was completed in December, which showed a 6 point increase in the proportion of respondents which identified this topic as one of the main priorities for the CAP.

To meet this challenge, we propose to radically overhaul the delivery model of the CAP. A “one-size-fits-all” approach to the CAP is not appropriate in a Union with significant differences in farm structures, production systems, and climatic conditions.

What we do share are values and objectives: those of a viable farm sector delivering food security for our citizens; of sustainable management of our natural resources, climate action, and care for the environment; and of the need to ensure prosperity for our rural citizens.

With the new delivery model, we are rethinking the division of responsibilities between Member States and the Commission.

At the level of the EU, we will define what the CAP should achieve in terms of objectives. We will then leave it to national authorities to define how they intend to contribute to these objectives based on a territorial and sectorial needs assessment.

This is subsidiarity in action, in line with the Commission’s Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and “Doing Less More Efficiently,” chaired by FVP Timmermans.

Member States will have responsibility for design and implementation, while target-setting and overall objectives will be maintained at EU level.

Each MS will produce a so-called “CAP Strategic Plan” with detailed information for interventions funded under both EAGF and EAFRD.

Control and consistency will be assured through Commission approval of these plans. This is a way of not only safeguarding but even strengthening the C in the Common Agricultural Policy.

Some people have asked if we are imposing the current system of rural development on the first pillar. The answer is no.

Firstly, whereas the current second pillar is based on compliance, the future delivery model will be based on performance.

We currently have a list of detailed measures and sub-measures in the rural development regulation linked to eligibility and implementation rules.

These set out how Member States develop and define their operations and schemes.

As some of you have experienced, it sometimes causes issues, for instance when you have new innovative ideas that go beyond what was imagined at the time of drafting the regulation. You also know that these issues have often created difficulties in the programme approval phase.

In future, we intend to do away with these restrictions. One way to illustrate this is by means of the investment measure. Instead of having a variety of investment measures and sub measures that define eligible beneficiaries and types of cost, we will simply have a broad intervention called “investments”.

And we will then leave it to Member States to fill it with content and purpose, to establish eligibility criteria and support rates suitable to their purpose and their delivery towards the pre-defined EU objectives.

When we are talking about strategic planning, there will be some resemblance to what we do under Rural Development.

After all, we are doing strategic programming. But there are key differences and a large potential for simplification in our proposals.

We currently have 6 priorities, 18 focus areas, contributing to 3 CAP objectives and 11 Thematic ESIF objectives. It sounds unnecessarily complicated and it is my impression that this is the case.

It is therefore the intention to have a limited number of CAP specific objectives which reflect Treaty objectives but also Commission priorities; our commitment to the Sustainable Development goals, and the implementation of the COP 21 agreement.

For each specific objective, we will establish a number of result indicators for target setting and for monitoring annual implementations.

The development of this performance framework is a work in progress and an area where we are keen to work with Member States to ensure that we end up with a system that can provide us with assurance for the EU budget; a credible tracking and monitoring of CAP performance; and clear evidence of the added value the CAP provides for public money.

The role of networks will be very important in moving towards a more results-based system, and that’s where you come in.

In a policy where fewer operational matters are steered by EU legislation, networking will play an increasingly important role in policy design and implementation.

Networking across borders and pillars is a positive sum game; it is crucial for ensuring mutual learning and knowledge exchange and it allows us to develop solutions and schemes together. We already have great experience with this from the two networks we have today – the ENRD and the EIP-AGRI network – and I believe this is something we can build on in the future.

In fact, today is an example of the role networks can play in the future CAP.

One of the fundamental principles for innovation and change management is that you generally tend to get better results if you involve the end-users early on in the design and development process. This is also the case for the design of the new delivery model. We are here today – MS, Commission and rural representatives – to develop ideas and solutions together.

We want to raise awareness and share our thinking on the future of the CAP. I am sure you have many questions about the new Delivery Model; we are here to listen to your concerns and ideas.

We want to hear your thoughts on how we can ensure simpler plans and a more effective planning process. DG AGRI is well represented here today with many colleagues from different areas. Take it as an indication that we want to be sure we capture every idea coming from this forum.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, when it comes to the future policy, in particular the CAP Strategic Plans, there are three S’s to keep in mind: Single, Strategic and Streamlined.

We want a single CAP plan for interventions from both pillars. So to be clear: we are not talking about a two layered approach with an overarching CAP strategy and an underlying RD programme. That would hardly be a simplification.

We want the CAP plan to be strategic and result-oriented; developed around a number of EU objectives and based on a territorial and sectorial needs assessment. We want to see targets and we want to be able to measure progress towards these targets on an annual basis.

We want the CAP plans to be streamlined. The current approach with RD programmes running to thousands of pages is familiar to everyone in this room.

We will need descriptions of what you intend to do in order to approve the programmes, but the level of detailed descriptions about eligible beneficiaries and principles for selection criteria will be a thing of the past.

We want CAP plans to be accessible to our farmers and rural stakeholders and no one can expect them to read hundreds and hundreds of pages to find out what the CAP is doing in their country or region.

I believe we have a strong foundation for a better, smarter, simpler and environmentally friendly CAP. And I will need your help to deliver it. Thank you.

 

29/01/2018

Agriculture and Fisheries Council Main results (full results here)

 

The future of food and farming: Common Agricultural Policy post 2020

The future of the CAP is not only the main priority of our presidency for the next six months, but also a key issue for our union as a whole. That is why we decided to hold all our debates in public. We want to engage in an open debate that will improve the future CAP and equip it with the right tools to be competitive and meet the challenge of sustainability.

Rumen Porodzanov, minister of agriculture, food and forestry of the Republic of Bulgaria and president of the Council

Ministers exchanged views on the communication on “The Future of Food and Farming“, which sets out the Commission’s vision for the future CAP period after 2020. During a public session, the Council focused in particular on the CAP added value, the EU’s key objectives to be maintained and the appropriate level of subsidiarity.

Ministers emphasised  the added value of the CAP for farmers, citizens and society as a whole, and its key role in contributing to a fair income for farmers, ensuring food security and production throughout the EU, contributing to the environmental and climate mitigation challenge, and keeping rural areas strong and sustainable. Ministers also agreed that in order to preserve this added value it was important for the CAP to continue to be adequately funded.

On sustainability, ministers warned against a possible re-nationalisation of what is longest-standing EU policy and underlined that, while it was important for the CAP to be more flexible and adaptable to national specificities and needs, there were risks that the new delivery model could increase administrative burden, distort competition and lead to delays in the reimbursement of direct paym

 

23/01/2018

Commissioner Phil Hogan – Building the Future of EU Food & Farming

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a contract between the farmers and citizens of Europe; for over 60 years, it has guaranteed food security for our people by guaranteeing our family farmers a fair income for their work. EU Agriculture and related sectors employ approximately 44 million people – making this the largest employer in the EU. Through our system of Direct Payments and Rural Development Policy, the CAP directly supports the creation of jobs and growth in rural areas. It is also a dynamic, living policy, which evolves to reflect the societal priorities of the day. We are now entering another period of evolution for the CAP. The EU Commission believes we need a simpler and more modern policy which works better for both our farmers and society as a whole. Our farmers want simpler, more effective policy supports; while our citizens want a CAP which delivers real results in a broader range of areas, such as the environment, climate, and rural job creation. For this reason, the Commission recently published a Communication outlining our policy vision for the CAP post 2020. I believe this document strikes the right balance and presents a realistic and ambitious direction of travel for our food and farming sector. In 2018, the European Commission will make legislative proposals for the CAP post-2020, as well as for the next EU budget (2020-2027). We will also propose new laws to improve the position of our farmers on the EU food chain. I am calling on all agri-food stakeholders, rural policymakers and concerned citizens to support our plans for an upgraded, strong and well-funded CAP. In return, we plan to support the wellbeing of our farming and food sector for the coming decade, while delivering more benefits for all Europeans.

 

12/01/2018

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT BRIEFING: COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY

After World War II, Europe was in pieces, devastated and facing a shortage of food. The main objective of the European Coal and Steel Community, a new institution set up in 1952, was therefore to work to unite a fragmented Europe. Lack of food was one of earliest challenges; action at European level was necessary in order to make Europe self-sufficient in food and to secure an adequate food supply and the free flow of food and agricultural products within Europe. The common agricultural policy (CAP) was formed in 1962 to ensure that people could have food at affordable prices and that farmers would earn a fair living for their work. CAP is one of the European Union’s oldest common polices. Read Briefing here

 

12/12/2017

CAP context indicators – 2017

AP context indicators – 2017
Indicators section CMEF indicator Date of last update
1. Socio-economic indicators C.01 Population: documenttables 12/2017
C.02 Age structure: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2017
C.03 Territory: documenttablesMaps 12/2016
C.04 Population density: documenttablesMaps 12/2017
C.05 Employment rate: documenttablesMapsMapsMapsMapsMapsMaps 12/2017
C.06 Self-employment rate: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2017
C.07 Unemployment rate: documenttablesMapsMapsMapsMaps 12/2017
C.08 GDP per capita: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2017
C.09 Poverty rate: documenttablesMaps 12/2017
C.10 Structure of the economy: documenttables 12/2017
C.11 Structure of the employment: documenttables 12/2017
C.12 Labour productivity by economic sector: documenttablesMaps 12/2017
2. Sectorial indicators C.13 Employment by economic activity: documenttablesMapsMapsMapsMaps 12/2017
C.14 Labour productivity in agriculture: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2017
C.15 Labour productivity in forestry: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2017
C.16 Labour productivity in the food industry: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2017
C.17 Agricultural holdings (farms): documenttablesMapsMapsMapsMapsMapsMapsMaps 12/2016
C.18 Agricultural area: documenttablesMaps 12/2016
C.19 Agricultural area under organic farming: documenttablesMaps 12/2017
C.20 Irrigated land: documenttablesMaps 12/2016
C.21 Livestock units: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2016
C.22 Farm labour force: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2016
C.23 Age structure of farm managers: documenttablesMaps 12/2016
C.24 Agricultural training of farm managers: documenttablesMaps 12/2016
C.25 Agricultural factor income: documenttablesMaps 12/2017
C.26 Agricultural entrepreneurial income: documenttables 12/2017
C.27 Total factor productivity in agriculture: documenttables 12/2017
C.28 Gross fixed capital formation in agriculture: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2017
C.29 Forest and other wooded land (FOWL): documenttables 12/2016
C.30 Tourism infrastructure: documenttablesMaps 12/2017
3. Environment indicators C.31 Land cover: documenttablesMapsMapsMaps 12/2016
C.32 Less favoured areas: documenttablesMapsMaps 12/2017
C.33 Farming intensity:documenttablesMaps 12/2017
C.34 Natura 2000 area: documenttablesMapsMapsMaps 12/2017
C.35 Farmland birds index (FBI): documenttables 12/2017
C.36 Conservation status of agricultural habitats: documenttables 12/2016
C.37 HNV farming: document 12/2017
C.38 Protected forest: documenttables 12/2016
C.39 Water abstraction in agriculture: documenttablesMaps 12/2016
C.40 Water quality: documenttables 03/2017
C.41 Soil organic matter in arable land: documenttablesMaps 12/2016
C.42 Soil erosion by water: documenttablesMapsMaps 03/2017
C.43 Production of renewable energy from agriculture and forestry: documenttables 12/2017
C.44 Energy use in agriculture, forestry and food industry: documenttables 12/2017
C.45 Emissions from agriculture: documenttables 12/2017

For all context indicators, factsheets providing information on definitions, methodologies and data sources are published under the following link

 

13/12/2017

A raft of changes due to come into force on 1 January 2018 continue the drive towards a simpler, more modern Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Major improvements to EU agriculture rules will come into force on 1 January 2018 following the adoption by the Council of agriculture ministers and the European Parliament of the agriculture and rural development part of the so-called Omnibus regulation. This regulation amends the financial regulation governing the implementation of the EU budget as well as 15 sectorial legislative acts, including in the field of agriculture.

The Omnibus simplifies and strengthens existing EU rules on a wide range of agriculture issues from risk management to support for young farmers, and is the latest in a series of simplification and modernisation measures implemented by the Commission.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said: “I welcome the developments in the European Parliament and the Council, which pave the way for the implementation of a series of significant simplification measures, which will make the lives of farmers and other CAP beneficiaries easier. These include the important areas of simplification of the rules for financial instruments, the improvement of risk management tools and greater flexibility for the active farmer provision. I want to acknowledge the role and hard work of the EP rapporteurs and the Estonian Presidency during the trilogue process for ensuring that these simplification measures will be available to farmers from 1 January 2018. The adoption last month of the Commission’s Communication on the CAP is further evidence of our commitment to continue with the agenda of bringing greater and much-needed simplification to our farmers and all stakeholders.”

Wide-ranging provisions

Among the key improvements included in the Omnibus are:

  • Stronger support for farmers’ position in the food supply chain. The new rules will include value sharing clauses to be negotiated by every product sector, and give farmers the right to ask for a written contract for the first time (unless trading with SMEs);
  • Simpler risk management tools to help farmers, including a sector-specific income stabilisation tool and improvements to insurance schemes that will allow compensation of up to 70% for farmers whose production or income is cut by at least 20%;
  • Clearer rules governing intervention in markets, allowing the Commission to act rapidly to address market failures without having to use public intervention or private storage measures;
  • Greater flexibility for Member States to support specific sectors of economic, social or environmental importance through voluntary coupled support, even when these sectors are not in crisis;
  • Clearer rules on support for farmers, notably through more flexibility on the definition of active farmers and stronger incentives for young farmers, with an increase in additional payments from 25% to 50% and guaranteeing all young farmers the right to the full five-year allowance for these payments, regardless of when they apply for them within their first five years of their setting-up;
  • Improved environmental measures including simpler rules on crop diversification and the addition of three new types of ecological focus area focused on nitrogen-fixing crops, giving farmers and national authorities more options to suit their particular circumstances.

With a clear emphasis on more flexible and less bureaucratic rules, as well as a focus on improving results in key areas such as environmental action and support for farmers, the changes proposed through the Omnibus are fully in line with the new approach to the CAP after 2020 outlined in the recent Communication on the Future of Food and Farming.

Background

Adopted by the Commission in September 2016, the Omnibus proposal comprises a series of changes to the Financial Regulation and amendments to a number of other spending regulations, including the four CAP regulations. These amendments aimed to bring forward much needed simplification to the implementation of the policy following the experience acquired since the last reform of the CAP adopted in 2013.

After intensive negotiations in four trilogues during the summer and autumn 2017 an agreement on the agricultural provisions was reached between the Commission, European Parliament and Council on 12 October 2017. Taking into account that negotiations on other parts of the Omnibus proposal are still to be finalised, and the desire of many Member States to implement the agreed proposals as soon as possible, the European Parliament and the Council agreed to separate the agricultural provisions of the Omnibus and adopt them as a stand-alone regulation that would enter into force at the latest on 1 January 2018.

IP/17/5242

 

11/12/2017

Evaluation study of the payment for agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and the environment (“greening” of direct payments)

The Evaluation study of the payment for agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and the environment, financed by the European Commission, was carried out by Alliance Environnement. The conclusions, recommendations and opinions presented in this report reflect the opinion of the consultant and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Commission.

Judgement on the quality of the report (quality assessment)

Full text (final report)

Executive summary

Literature Reviews report

Leaflet

 

01/12/2017

Future of CAP: What’s cooking for the next CAP?

 

29/11/2017

Members of the European Parliament react to The future of agriculture and food – Presentation of the Commission’s guidelines 

Agriculture MEPs react to Commission’s ideas

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must remain truly common and well financed to be able to deliver, Agriculture MEPs told Commissioner Phil Hogan on Wednesday evening.

The debate followed the adoption by the Commission of the keenly awaited Communication on the Future of food and farming in the EU, which launched formal deliberations on the next CAP reform for after 2020.

“We don’t need a [CAP] revolution, we simply need to make necessary corrections”, said Albert Dess (EPP, DE) echoing what Commissioner Hogan said. But he was “a bit sceptical” over “too much of a national responsibility”. The CAP “is a Common Agricultural Policy”, Mr Dess stressed and warned against market distortion. He also insisted that the CAP must be properly funded. “The amount of what we spend is justified given what we achieve through it”, he said.

The idea to further simplify the CAP was welcomed by Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR). Subsidiarity “is a valuable idea (…) particularly when it comes to greening” but this must be a “reform without renationalising” the CAP, he said. Mr Andrieu also welcomed measures to help young farmers and said that the support to the first installation should be made “mandatory in all member states”. But he criticised lack of focus in the Communication on market-related measures.

The CAP budget must be maintained but “Brexit will have serious [budgetary] implications” and “the £50 billion” from the UK “will help only slightly”, James Nicholson (ECR, UK) said. He welcomed Phil Hogan’s “comments on Brussels’ interference” but said that “sometimes it is not Brussels but national authorities” and “the way they implement” EU rules that creates problems.

Providing additional “room for manoeuvre” for member states “is great” but “it is important to avoid distortion of competition” on the internal market, said Ulrike Müller (ALDE, DE). Unfair competition within the EU must be avoided, she stressed.

“You say the CAP is a success story – but for whom and where?” Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez (GUE/NGL, ES) asked Commissioner Hogan. Key words missing in the Communication are “fair prices and production regulation”, she said adding that “more liberalisation and trade deals” will lead to “lower income” for farmers. She also criticised the idea that EU “needs to feed the entire World”.

 

“The core of the [EU’s farming] policy must remain European”, otherwise the CAP will be implemented in too many ways, warned Martin Häusling (Greens/EFA, DE). Using new technologies is fine “but it cannot be the answer to everything”, he said and called for ideas on capping direct payments for big farmers and fairer distribution of EU funding among and within member states.

“We lack a structured, consistent, long-term policy that would make us less dependent on imports”, said Marco Zullo (EFDD, IT). The Commission should not “miss the opportunity” to “build the agricultural policy for citizens” instead of “multinationals”, he insisted.

Farmers must be respected rather than be penalised and made subject to additional controls, said Philippe Loiseau (ENF, FR). He also criticised international trade deals: “if you want food security, you have to stop negotiating these agreements”, he said.

You can re-watch the entire debate here.

 

29/11/2017

The future of agriculture and food – Presentation of the Commission’s guidelines for a flexible, fair and sustainable common agricultural policy

The College of Commissioners today adopted the Commission’s guidelines for simplifying and modernizing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), whose main objectives remain support for farmers and the development of sustainable and green agriculture. The flagship initiative presented in the Communication, “The future of agriculture and food”, is to strengthen Member States’ competences in the choice and allocation of CAP resources to to achieve ambitious common goals in the areas of environment, climate change and sustainability. Jyrki Katainen, Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The Common Agricultural Policy has been with us since 1962. We have to make sure, on the one hand, that “It continues to provide consumers with healthy and quality food while creating jobs and growth in rural areas, and on the other hand, it is evolving alongside other policies.” Phil Hogan , Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “The Communication issued today provides assurance that the Common Agricultural Policy will achieve new and emerging goals, such as the promotion of a smart agricultural sector. and resilient, strengthening environmental protection and climate action and strengthening the socio-economic fabric in rural areas. ” The current two-pillar structure will be maintained, but the simpler and more flexible approach foreseen will include specific measures to achieve the agreed objectives at EU level.

Each EU country will then develop its own strategic plan – to be approved by the Commission – in which it will indicate how it plans to achieve the objectives. Legislative proposals implementing the objectives set out in the Communication will be presented by the Commission before the summer of 2018, following the proposal of the multiannual financial framework. The Communication on “The Future of Agriculture and Food” is online.  Read the Press Release and  Memo.

For More Information

Factsheet: Simplification

Factsheet: Agriculture and the CAP in the EU

Factsheet: Support to farmers

Factsheet: CAP and the environment

Factsheet: Agriculture 2.0

Agriculture focus page

13/10/2017

FUTURE OF CAP

Everybody needs food – and that means that everybody needs farmers. Farming was one of humanity’s first professions, an organised way to meet the fundamental needs of each and every person on the planet. It’s this fundamental need that means that farming is just as important today as it was a the dawn of civilisation – indeed, with the exponential increase in the world’s population meaning ever more mouths to feed, it’s easy to argue that it’s never been more important.

But why would anyone become a farmer, really? It’s a life of hard toil, long hours and little reward, isn’t it? Even today this is the stereotypical image of farmers, but while there is (as with any stereotype) a grain of truth in this caricature, farming is still an appealing profession for many young people. But is it appealing enough to ensure that there will be enough farmers in the future to provide the food of future generations?

The data certainly makes for stark reading – though perhaps not quite enough to make you head to the supermarket to stock up on tins of food for when the fresh stuff runs out. Just a little over 5% of Europe’s 11 million farms are operated by farmers under the age of 35; in contrast, farmers already past the retirement age of 65 account for 31% of all EU farmers – or around 3.2 million farmers. The figures differ wildly according to EU country, with Romania facing potentially the biggest issue as it alone contributes 45% of the over-65s figure. Portugal is another country with a potentially significant generational gap to bridge, as half of its farmers are over 65. In Germany, Austria and Poland, in contrast, fewer than 10% of farmers continue beyond 65.

Information in full here

 

12/10/2017

Deal on further simplification of EU agricultural rules through the Omnibus regulation

On 12 October 2017 the Estonian presidency and the European Parliament reached a preliminary agreement on the agricultural part of the so-called Omnibus regulation. The Omnibus regulation amends the financial regulation governing the implementation of the EU budget as well as 15 sectorial legislative acts, including in the field of agriculture.

The agreed rules make a series of technical improvements to the four regulations governing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): direct payments, rural development, common market organisation and horizontal regulation.

“I am glad to announce an agreement that reflects the position and priorities of the Council: simplification in continuity. In order to thrive, our farmers need to have a set of rules that are simple, effective and workable. Today we agreed on improvements that will make their daily life and the work of national administrations easier”, said Marko Gorban, Chief negotiator, Estonian presidency

The new measures are part of a joint institutional effort to simplify the reformed Common Agricultural Policy in light of the experience acquired through its implementation, and offer member states additional leeway to act in line with specific national or regional needs.

The agreement will have to be confirmed by the Special Committee on Agriculture during the meeting scheduled on Monday, 16 October.

 

 

26/07/2017

Facts and figures on EU agriculture and the CAP

Presents data and facts through graphs, tables and maps on: farms, agriculture and rural areas in the EU, including European farmers’ incomes; the role of subsidies in farm income; the evolution of prices for agricultural products; the main agricultural trade flows; and how to quantify interactions between agriculture and the environment.

The context

Policy aspects

18/07/2017

Agriculture-Fisheries Council 17-18 July – results in full here

The CAP in the Commission’s reflection paper on the future of EU finances

On the initiative of the Spanish delegation ministers had the opportunity to discuss the issue of the future finances of the CAP. Spain noted that in the Commission’s reflection paper on the future of EU finances, four of the five scenarios would imply a serious reduction of CAP financing. It therefore sought further clarification from the Commission on the matter.

The Commission’s reflection paper on the future of EU finances by 2025 sets out a series of options and scenarios regarding the future direction of the EU budget and how it could be used. It is intended to stimulate further a public debate about where the Union is going and what Europeans want to achieve together. This is the last of the 5 reflection papers following the White paper on the Future of Europe.

This point was discussed jointly with the ones on modernising and simplifying the CAP, simplification, and the meeting of the agriculture ministers of the extended Visegrad group. During that debate, several delegations appreciated the Spanish request for more information and agreed on the need for an adequately financed CAP in the future.

 

Ministerial conference on “GMO free agriculture: a chance for rural development in Central and South Eastern Europe”, Vienna 9-10 May 2017

Ministers were informed about the outcome of the above-mentioned conference , which was a joint Hungarian-Austrian initiative and was attended by ministers and other high-ranking representatives from Central and South Eastern European countries.

The event marked the 20th anniversary of the Austrian referendum on genetic engineering, which showed that Austrians firmly reject food produced using GMOs. The event was linked to the Danube Soya Initiative, which was launched by Austria and created a strategic partnership for the production of GMO-free and organic soya in the Danube region.

Austria and Hungary underlined the fact that, despite all efforts, the demand for GMO-free soya is far from being met in the EU. Even though GMO-free soya production has increased in Europe over the past few years, large amounts of soya meal still need to be imported.

The Commission welcomed the initiative but reminded the Council that the EU would continue to have a significant protein deficit, especially for proteins from soy beans and soy meals. It considered that full substitution of all imports by EU GMO-free production was not achievable in the short term, and that EU farmers would continue to largely rely on imports of GMO soya.

17/07/2017

Hogan highlights progress made on CAP simplification and consultation

07/07/2017

European Commission Conference: THE CAP HAVE YOU SAY on outcome of Public Consultation on the CAP

 

Press release – Public consultation identifies challenges for future Common Agricultural Policy

Agricultural policy is best managed at the EU level, focusing on core issues of support for farmers and environmental protection, consultation findings show.

European citizens believe that agricultural policy should continue to be managed at the EU level, and that helping farmers and protecting the environment should be its two main goals.

These are among the key findings of the public consultation published today on modernising and simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which received more than 322,000 submissions from a wide range of stakeholders, including farmers, citizens, organisations and other interested partiies.  Read Press Release in full here

 

Presentations

05/05/2017

Commission agrees to delay CAP payments application deadline

Countries wishing to extend the deadline for applications EU aid for farmers will be allowed to do so, EU agriculture and rural development commissioner Phil Hogan has confirmed. The deadline can now be extended by one month, from 15 May to 15 June 2017.   The decision comes after requests for an extension from a number of EU member countries after changes to their administrative systems for handling applications had impacted farmers’ ability to submit the claims on time.

03/05/2017

Preliminary Results public consultation on the future common agricultural policy

03/04/2017

CAP: Omnibus regulation

The Council had an exchange of views on the proposed regulation on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, the so-called Omnibus regulation, which proposes updates to legislation in several areas, including the common agricultural policy (CAP), and is part of the review of the multi-annual financial framework. The discussion was aimed to provide political orientation on the agricultural aspects of the proposal.

Delegations broadly supported the Presidency compromise package set out in 7527/1/17 REV 1 and addressed the few outstanding political issues (voluntary coupled support, young farmers, income stabilisation tool, etc.). The Commission invited ministers to prioritise simplification in their decisions, in order to facilitate a timely adoption of the regulation and its entry into force at the beginning of 2018.

On the basis of the political guidance given by ministers, the Special Committee on Agriculture will shortly finalise the agreement on the legal texts of the CAP regulations, and send them to the Friends of the Presidency group for the following stages of the negotiating procedure.

The Commission proposal on the Omnibus regulation was published in October 2016 as a part of the review package of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF). It includes changes applicable to all four basic CAP Regulations: direct payments, rural development, common market organisation, and horizontal regulation, with the aim of further simplifying the common agricultural policy to the benefit of both farmers and national authorities.

Some of the proposed changes include:

– the introduction of a sector specific income stabilisation tool in the rural development regulation

– simpler rules for accessing loans and other financial instruments

Read Agriculture Council results in full here

01/04/2017

CAP: Commission proposes annual reduction in direct payments to finance crisis reserve

The European Commission has adopted a proposal to reduce spending on support for farmers for the financial year 2018 in order to create a crisis reserve that can be used should the need arise.

The so-called financial discipline proposal is made each year and reduces spending under the common agricultural policy – specifically direct payments that are funded by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) – in order to set aside €400m (in 2011 prices) to cover potential crises in agricultural markets.

The proposal for 2018 aims to reduce CAP direct payments in excess of €2 000 by 1.388149%, with the exception of direct payments for farmers in Croatia as they are still being phased into the scheme following their country’s accession to the EU. The money saved as a result will be used to ensure that a crisis reserve of €459.5 million (in current prices) is available in the 2018 budget.  The rate is slightly higher than the 1.353905% applied in 2017 (for a reserve of €450.5 million). Read  Commission proposes annual reduction in direct payments to finance crisis reserve

30/03/2017

CAP: Public Consultation on the future of the CAP: Thousands already have their say on future of food, farming and rural areas

29/03/2017

CAP: DIRECT PAYMENTS FOR FARMERS 2015-2020

While the rules governing Direct Payments are set at EU level, their implementation is managed directly by each Member State under the principle known as “shared management”.  This means that National Authorities are responsible for the administraiton and control of Direct Paymets to farmers in their Country.  Read more about Direct Payments here

28/03/2017

CAP:  Excerpts from Phil Hogan’s Address to the Forum for the Future of Agriculture – Is the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) fit for the SDG age?

The CAP has ensured food security in Europe since shortly after the end of the Second World War. Today it provides food security to millions of people way beyond the EU and, despite all the laudable objectives of helping people to feed themselves, that will continue to be the case, at least for decades to come.

The CAP also ensures that the people of Europe have access to high quality food, produced to the highest standards in the world.

If we are to maintain food security and the highest food standards in the world, we must continue to support European farmers through the CAP.

In addition, the CAP is a policy that reaches out to all parts of Europe, even to the most marginal rural areas. And this is where we need to act. The highest rate of poverty in the EU nowadays is to be found in rural areas.

The CAP is a policy that enables jobs, economic development and growth in those areas where it is most needed. The CAP is at the root of a vibrant agri-food sector, which provides for 44 million jobs in the EU. We should use this potential more.

Having said this about the policy, it is clear that it needs to adapt and modernise for the 21st century. Food has to be put at the centre of the debate and farmers actions have to be directed accordingly.

We must remember that the CAP is an economic, environmental and social policy and each one of these objectives is as important as the other. The choice is not a binary choice between one objective and another. It is a choice between a policy that delivers effectively for its stakeholders, including taxpayers, and one that doesn’t. Read full Address to the Forum for the Future of Agriculture 28 March 2017

22/03/2017

CAP: Address by Commissioner Phil Hogan at Copa/Cogeca event on Cork 2.0

“I want to make it very clear: I see a strong role for rural development policy in the CAP in the future. Rural Development is crucial to meeting citizens’ expectations and for the development of a living countryside.

Rural Development support is targeting a high number of relatively small beneficiaries and projects. It is designed to meet the specific needs of rural citizens and businesses. For instance, Rural Development is the only policy designed to deliver last-mile connectivity (digital and physical).

Our approach to agriculture cannot be business as usual. It takes specialised knowledge and expertise to develop targeted and result-oriented support schemes which the Rural Development tool box offers. This allows for the necessary investment and knowledge measures where needed.

Furthermore, Rural Policy, in particular through LEADER, provides effective investments in rural capacity building, reconnecting with rural citizens at the local level. We need local people fully engaged on the ground for a living countryside and a policy that connects to their needs.

As you can see, Rural Development is having a positive and meaningful impact for rural citizens throughout the EU.

Therefore, it must form part of the CAP, side by side with the support offered under the first pillar. It is also, as you put it, a BIG deal when we look towards current and future challenges for primary producers and their related value chains.

In the context of the CAP modernisation debate I have highlighted three areas for action. Farm resilience, sustainable management of resources, and generational renewal. And Rural Development has a major role to play in all these areas.”  Read full  Speech by Commissioner Phil Hogan at Copa Cogeca 22 March

16/03/2017

CAP: Keynote Address by Commissioner Phil Hogan at the 73rd FNPL Congress in Langres, France – 16th March 2017

It is also my duty to be honest with you, to provide you with the facts, and to talk with you face to face about the political reality for Europe’s farmers in 2017. I am here to deliver one message loud and clear: I am 100% convinced that the Common Agricultural Policy remains the best hope for France’s dairy farmers to succeed, today and in the years to come.

Why do I say this? Because the facts show that the European Union continues to strongly support dairy farmers in good times and bad. As your Commissioner; as a proud advocate for this sector; as a defender of our hard-working family farmers; let me remind you of those facts.

When I took office in 2014, Europe was entering a profound and lasting dairy price crisis. We saw the storm clouds coming. And we took decisive action at every stage of the crisis, exhausting every legislative tool at our disposal.

Let me tell you what this meant in detail.  Read Speech in full Keynote Address by Commissioner Phil Hogan at the 73rd FNPL Congress in Langres, France – 16th March 2017

01/03/2017

The Common Agricultural Policy in figures – Think Tank

 The tables below show basic statistical data in several areas relating to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), namely: the agriculture and food industries in the Member States (Table II), the integration of environmental concerns into the CAP (Table III), the forestry sector (Table IV), CAP financing and expenditure (Tables I and V) and trade in agricultural and food products (Table VI).   Full details here

06/03/2017

CAP:  Common Agricultural Policy post-2020

The Agriculture Council had an exchange of views on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

In particular ministers shared ideas on how the priorities of the future CAP can be achieved, and on whether or not there should be a rebalancing of direct support and rural development.

Most delegations asked for adequate funding for the future CAP, which will have to face a variety of challenges including market volatility, climate change and pressure on resources.

Simplification was generally highlighted as an overall priority for future policies in order to release the full economic potential of EU farming and rural areas. Other issues indicated as priorities were: building resilience, responding to environmental challenges, investing in rural viability and vitality, ensuring generational renewal, maintaining a market orientation and strengthening farmers’ position in the food chain. The issue of risk management was touched upon by several delegations that expressed the need for a more robust response to market crises, including in the form of countercyclical measures. Innovation was also indicated as both a priority and a tool to face future challenges.

As for the pillar structure of the CAP, most delegations confirmed its validity. Some delegations were in favour of putting more emphasis on rural development in the future in order to invest in rural viability and vitality, whilst others warned against a reduction of direct support to farmers.

Concerning direct payments some delegations asked for their progressive harmonisation in all EU member states, in order to achieve real level playing field in the EU. Several also called on the Commission to maintain if not strengthen voluntary coupled support.

Though several delegations found it was too early to consider a rebalancing of the financial resources allocated to pillar I and pillar II, many asked for real flexibility between pillars at member state level.

06/03/2017:    

CAP:  Young farmers  (brochure on Young farmers and the CAP)

Faced with an ageing farming population, the European Union (EU) is stepping up its efforts to encourage young people to take up the baton. Young farmers are given a helping hand to get their business off the ground with start-up grants and other financial and practical support such as trainings. Supporting the next generation of European farmers not only enhances the future competitiveness of European agriculture, it also helps guarantee Europe’s food supplies for years to come.

The modern farm is a dynamic workplace, often using innovative technology such as milking robots or irrigation via mobile phones. Yet only 6 % of all farm holdings in Europe are run by farmers under 35 – and getting more young people interested in farming is a big challenge!

Helping young people to become farmers

That is why the EU has a number of programmes designed to encourage young people to become the next generation of European farmers.

For example, funding is available through the EU’s common agricultural policy to help young farmers set up and develop their business. Support is available for farmers starting up businesses who are 40 or under at the time of applying, and can be granted for up to five years.
Young farmers are encouraged by additional support from the CAP’s direct payments: national authorities have to set aside up to 2 % of their total allocation of direct payment funding in order to offer young farmers a bonus of 25 % (maximum) on their direct payments in their first five years of working in the sector. Young farmers also have priority when it comes to receiving direct payment funding from the national/regional reserve.
In addition, CAP rural development programmes (RDP) in each EU country often provide additional measures to help young farmers get started. This includes advice services for farmers setting up for the first time. See how one young Hungarian farmer set up her own business  with help from various EU schemes.
>> National or regional rural development programmes

Encouragement comes in other forms as well – for example, young farmers are seen as more likely to look to innovation to help develop their businesses. A number of programmes run by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP- AGRI) are designed to help encourage the take-up of innovative techniques for increasing output and reducing costs, for example. (Read the interview “Innovation for young European farmers” for more information).

What do young farmers need?

A recent survey of more than 2 000 farmers under 40 years in all 28 EU countries shows that after access to land to buy or to rent, what they need most is financial support (subsidies), access to credit and sufficient qualified labour. Needs, however, vary from country to country, as a separate report shows.

02 Febuary-02 May 2017:  

CAP:   Consultation on modernising and simplifying the common agricultural policy (CAP)

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was developed in the early sixties to translate in policy terms the objectives defined in the Treaty of Rome (1957), and subsequently taken over in the Treaty on the European Union. Like all other EU policies or programmes, the CAP is also subject to other provisions of the Treaty to ensure coherence with the overall objectives of the Union.

Article 39 of the Treaty (ex Article 33 TEC) specifies that the objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy shall be:

(a) to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour;

(b) thus to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture;

(c) to stabilise markets;

(d) to assure the availability of supplies;

(e) to ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.

The CAP has undergone several waves of reforms, with the latest reform decided in 2013 and implemented in 2015. Since then, the context in which that reform was forged has shifted significantly. In particular:

Agricultural prices have fallen substantially and market uncertainty has increased, due amongst others to macroeconomic factors, geopolitical tensions, inhibiting a clear long-term planning of the sector

The emphasis of trade negotiations has moved more visibly from multilateral to bilateral deals, requiring a careful balancing of offensive and defensive interests, with due attention paid to certain sensitive sectors

The EU has signed up to new international commitments, especially those concerning climate change (through the 21st Conference of Parties COP 21) and broad aspects of sustainable development (through the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs), and is also exposed to other geopolitical developments such as new large-scale migration.

The above prompted a vigorous public debate about whether the 2013 reform went far enough to meet broader challenges related to the balance of support, the economic prospects for agriculture and rural areas, care for the environment (e.g. greening), action over climate change, sustainable and safe food production. Emerging opportunities in the areas of health, trade, the bioeconomy, the circular economy and the digital economy also need to be further considered.

Against this background, as part of its working programme for 2017, the Commission will take forward work and consult widely on simplification and modernisation of the CAP to maximise its contribution to the Commission’s ten priorities and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will focus on specific policy priorities for the future, taking into account the opinion of the REFIT Platform and without prejudice to the next Multiannual Financial Framework. The starting point must be will be a well-founded assessment of the performance of the current policy.

While the future of the CAP is already debated in various instances, the process will include a broad consultation and an impact assessment. The goal is to summarise available evidence on the performance of the CAP so far, draw lessons from the implementation of the latest reform, have a structured dialogue, confirm what the current difficulties are, and anticipate needs for modernisation and simplification of the CAP.

This questionnaire is part of this wide consultation process and will contribute to the impact assessment. Results of this questionnaire will be published on this webpage and communicated in a public conference in July 2017.

This consultation does not prejudge in any way the financial allocation for the CAP in the next MFF.

Questionnaire

This public consultation is open until the 2nd May 2017.

Inception Impact Assessment

Q & A

 05/05/2017

Commission agrees to delay CAP payments application deadline

03/05/2017

 

 

03/04/2017

CAP: Omnibus regulation

 

The Council had an exchange of views on the proposed regulation on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, the so-called Omnibus regulation, which proposes updates to legislation in several areas, including the common agricultural policy (CAP), and is part of the review of the multi-annual financial framework. The discussion was aimed to provide political orientation on the agricultural aspects of the proposal.

Delegations broadly supported the Presidency compromise package set out in 7527/1/17 REV 1 and addressed the few outstanding political issues (voluntary coupled support, young farmers, income stabilisation tool, etc.). The Commission invited ministers to prioritise simplification in their decisions, in order to facilitate a timely adoption of the regulation and its entry into force at the beginning of 2018.

On the basis of the political guidance given by ministers, the Special Committee on Agriculture will shortly finalise the agreement on the legal texts of the CAP regulations, and send them to the Friends of the Presidency group for the following stages of the negotiating procedure.

The Commission proposal on the Omnibus regulation was published in October 2016 as a part of the review package of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF). It includes changes applicable to all four basic CAP Regulations: direct payments, rural development, common market organisation, and horizontal regulation, with the aim of further simplifying the common agricultural policy to the benefit of both farmers and national authorities.

Some of the proposed changes include:

– the introduction of a sector specific income stabilisation tool in the rural development regulation

– simpler rules for accessing loans and other financial instruments

Read Agriculture Council results in full here

 

 

01/04/2017

CAP: Commission proposes annual reduction in direct payments to finance crisis reserve

The European Commission has adopted a proposal to reduce spending on support for farmers for the financial year 2018 in order to create a crisis reserve that can be used should the need arise.

The so-called financial discipline proposal is made each year and reduces spending under the common agricultural policy – specifically direct payments that are funded by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) – in order to set aside €400m (in 2011 prices) to cover potential crises in agricultural markets.

The proposal for 2018 aims to reduce CAP direct payments in excess of €2 000 by 1.388149%, with the exception of direct payments for farmers in Croatia as they are still being phased into the scheme following their country’s accession to the EU. The money saved as a result will be used to ensure that a crisis reserve of €459.5 million (in current prices) is available in the 2018 budget.  The rate is slightly higher than the 1.353905% applied in 2017 (for a reserve of €450.5 million). Read  Commission proposes annual reduction in direct payments to finance crisis reserve

 

 

30/03/2017

CAP: Public Consultation on the future of the CAP: Thousands already have their say on future of food, farming and rural areas

29/03/2017

CAP: DIRECT PAYMENTS FOR FARMERS 2015-2020

While the rules governing Direct Payments are set at EU level, their implementation is managed directly by each Member State under the principle known as “shared management”.  This means that National Authorities are responsible for the administraiton and control of Direct Paymets to farmers in their Country.  Read more about Direct Payments here

 



28/03/2017

CAP:  Excerpts from Phil Hogan’s Address to the Forum for the Future of Agriculture – Is the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) fit for the SDG age?

The CAP has ensured food security in Europe since shortly after the end of the Second World War. Today it provides food security to millions of people way beyond the EU and, despite all the laudable objectives of helping people to feed themselves, that will continue to be the case, at least for decades to come.

The CAP also ensures that the people of Europe have access to high quality food, produced to the highest standards in the world.

If we are to maintain food security and the highest food standards in the world, we must continue to support European farmers through the CAP.

In addition, the CAP is a policy that reaches out to all parts of Europe, even to the most marginal rural areas. And this is where we need to act. The highest rate of poverty in the EU nowadays is to be found in rural areas.

The CAP is a policy that enables jobs, economic development and growth in those areas where it is most needed. The CAP is at the root of a vibrant agri-food sector, which provides for 44 million jobs in the EU. We should use this potential more.

Having said this about the policy, it is clear that it needs to adapt and modernise for the 21st century. Food has to be put at the centre of the debate and farmers actions have to be directed accordingly.

We must remember that the CAP is an economic, environmental and social policy and each one of these objectives is as important as the other. The choice is not a binary choice between one objective and another. It is a choice between a policy that delivers effectively for its stakeholders, including taxpayers, and one that doesn’t. Read full Address to the Forum for the Future of Agriculture 28 March 2017



22/03/2017

CAP: Address by Commissioner Phil Hogan at Copa/Cogeca event on Cork 2.0

“I want to make it very clear: I see a strong role for rural development policy in the CAP in the future. Rural Development is crucial to meeting citizens’ expectations and for the development of a living countryside.

Rural Development support is targeting a high number of relatively small beneficiaries and projects. It is designed to meet the specific needs of rural citizens and businesses. For instance, Rural Development is the only policy designed to deliver last-mile connectivity (digital and physical).

Our approach to agriculture cannot be business as usual. It takes specialised knowledge and expertise to develop targeted and result-oriented support schemes which the Rural Development tool box offers. This allows for the necessary investment and knowledge measures where needed.

Furthermore, Rural Policy, in particular through LEADER, provides effective investments in rural capacity building, reconnecting with rural citizens at the local level. We need local people fully engaged on the ground for a living countryside and a policy that connects to their needs.

As you can see, Rural Development is having a positive and meaningful impact for rural citizens throughout the EU.

Therefore, it must form part of the CAP, side by side with the support offered under the first pillar. It is also, as you put it, a BIG deal when we look towards current and future challenges for primary producers and their related value chains.

In the context of the CAP modernisation debate I have highlighted three areas for action. Farm resilience, sustainable management of resources, and generational renewal. And Rural Development has a major role to play in all these areas.”  Read full  Speech by Commissioner Phil Hogan at Copa Cogeca 22 March



16/03/2017

CAP: Keynote Address by Commissioner Phil Hogan at the 73rd FNPL Congress in Langres, France – 16th March 2017

It is also my duty to be honest with you, to provide you with the facts, and to talk with you face to face about the political reality for Europe’s farmers in 2017. I am here to deliver one message loud and clear: I am 100% convinced that the Common Agricultural Policy remains the best hope for France’s dairy farmers to succeed, today and in the years to come.

Why do I say this? Because the facts show that the European Union continues to strongly support dairy farmers in good times and bad. As your Commissioner; as a proud advocate for this sector; as a defender of our hard-working family farmers; let me remind you of those facts.

When I took office in 2014, Europe was entering a profound and lasting dairy price crisis. We saw the storm clouds coming. And we took decisive action at every stage of the crisis, exhausting every legislative tool at our disposal.

Let me tell you what this meant in detail.  Read Speech in full Keynote Address by Commissioner Phil Hogan at the 73rd FNPL Congress in Langres, France – 16th March 2017



01/03/2017

 

The Common Agricultural Policy in figures – Think Tank

 The tables below show basic statistical data in several areas relating to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), namely: the agriculture and food industries in the Member States (Table II), the integration of environmental concerns into the CAP (Table III), the forestry sector (Table IV), CAP financing and expenditure (Tables I and V) and trade in agricultural and food products (Table VI).   Full details here

 


06/02/2017

CAP:  Common Agricultural Policy post-2020

 

The Agriculture Council had an exchange of views on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

In particular ministers shared ideas on how the priorities of the future CAP can be achieved, and on whether or not there should be a rebalancing of direct support and rural development.

Most delegations asked for adequate funding for the future CAP, which will have to face a variety of challenges including market volatility, climate change and pressure on resources.

Simplification was generally highlighted as an overall priority for future policies in order to release the full economic potential of EU farming and rural areas. Other issues indicated as priorities were: building resilience, responding to environmental challenges, investing in rural viability and vitality, ensuring generational renewal, maintaining a market orientation and strengthening farmers’ position in the food chain. The issue of risk management was touched upon by several delegations that expressed the need for a more robust response to market crises, including in the form of countercyclical measures. Innovation was also indicated as both a priority and a tool to face future challenges.

As for the pillar structure of the CAP, most delegations confirmed its validity. Some delegations were in favour of putting more emphasis on rural development in the future in order to invest in rural viability and vitality, whilst others warned against a reduction of direct support to farmers.

Concerning direct payments some delegations asked for their progressive harmonisation in all EU member states, in order to achieve real level playing field in the EU. Several also called on the Commission to maintain if not strengthen voluntary coupled support.

Though several delegations found it was too early to consider a rebalancing of the financial resources allocated to pillar I and pillar II, many asked for real flexibility between pillars at member state level.

 

06/03/2017:    

CAP:  Young farmers  (brouchure on Young farmers and the CAP)

Faced with an ageing farming population, the European Union (EU) is stepping up its efforts to encourage young people to take up the baton. Young farmers are given a helping hand to get their business off the ground with start-up grants and other financial and practical support such as trainings. Supporting the next generation of European farmers not only enhances the future competitiveness of European agriculture, it also helps guarantee Europe’s food supplies for years to come.

The modern farm is a dynamic workplace, often using innovative technology such as milking robots or irrigation via mobile phones. Yet only 6 % of all farm holdings in Europe are run by farmers under 35 – and getting more young people interested in farming is a big challenge!

Helping young people to become farmers

That is why the EU has a number of programmes designed to encourage young people to become the next generation of European farmers.

For example, funding is available through the EU’s common agricultural policy to help young farmers set up and develop their business. Support is available for farmers starting up businesses who are 40 or under at the time of applying, and can be granted for up to five years.
Young farmers are encouraged by additional support from the CAP’s direct payments: national authorities have to set aside up to 2 % of their total allocation of direct payment funding in order to offer young farmers a bonus of 25 % (maximum) on their direct payments in their first five years of working in the sector. Young farmers also have priority when it comes to receiving direct payment funding from the national/regional reserve.
In addition, CAP rural development programmes (RDP) in each EU country often provide additional measures to help young farmers get started. This includes advice services for farmers setting up for the first time. See how one young Hungarian farmer set up her own business  with help from various EU schemes.
>> National or regional rural development programmes

 

Encouragement comes in other forms as well – for example, young farmers are seen as more likely to look to innovation to help develop their businesses. A number of programmes run by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP- AGRI) are designed to help encourage the take-up of innovative techniques for increasing output and reducing costs, for example. (Read the interview “Innovation for young European farmers” for more information).

 

What do young farmers need?

A recent survey of more than 2 000 farmers under 40 years in all 28 EU countries shows that after access to land to buy or to rent, what they need most is financial support (subsidies), access to credit and sufficient qualified labour. Needs, however, vary from country to country, as a separate report shows.

 

02 Febuary-02 May 2017:  

CAP:   Consultation on modernising and simplifying the common agricultural policy (CAP)

The EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was developed in the early sixties to translate in policy terms the objectives defined in the Treaty of Rome (1957), and subsequently taken over in the Treaty on the European Union. Like all other EU policies or programmes, the CAP is also subject to other provisions of the Treaty to ensure coherence with the overall objectives of the Union.

Article 39 of the Treaty (ex Article 33 TEC) specifies that the objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy shall be:

(a) to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour;

(b) thus to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture;

(c) to stabilise markets;

(d) to assure the availability of supplies;

(e) to ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.

The CAP has undergone several waves of reforms, with the latest reform decided in 2013 and implemented in 2015. Since then, the context in which that reform was forged has shifted significantly. In particular:

Agricultural prices have fallen substantially and market uncertainty has increased, due amongst others to macroeconomic factors, geopolitical tensions, inhibiting a clear long-term planning of the sector

The emphasis of trade negotiations has moved more visibly from multilateral to bilateral deals, requiring a careful balancing of offensive and defensive interests, with due attention paid to certain sensitive sectors

The EU has signed up to new international commitments, especially those concerning climate change (through the 21st Conference of Parties COP 21) and broad aspects of sustainable development (through the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs), and is also exposed to other geopolitical developments such as new large-scale migration.

The above prompted a vigorous public debate about whether the 2013 reform went far enough to meet broader challenges related to the balance of support, the economic prospects for agriculture and rural areas, care for the environment (e.g. greening), action over climate change, sustainable and safe food production. Emerging opportunities in the areas of health, trade, the bioeconomy, the circular economy and the digital economy also need to be further considered.

Against this background, as part of its working programme for 2017, the Commission will take forward work and consult widely on simplification and modernisation of the CAP to maximise its contribution to the Commission’s ten priorities and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will focus on specific policy priorities for the future, taking into account the opinion of the REFIT Platform and without prejudice to the next Multiannual Financial Framework. The starting point must be will be a well-founded assessment of the performance of the current policy.

While the future of the CAP is already debated in various instances, the process will include a broad consultation and an impact assessment. The goal is to summarise available evidence on the performance of the CAP so far, draw lessons from the implementation of the latest reform, have a structured dialogue, confirm what the current difficulties are, and anticipate needs for modernisation and simplification of the CAP.

This questionnaire is part of this wide consultation process and will contribute to the impact assessment. Results of this questionnaire will be published on this webpage and communicated in a public conference in July 2017.

 

This consultation does not prejudge in any way the financial allocation for the CAP in the next MFF.

Questionnaire

This public consultation is open until the 2nd May 2017.

Inception Impact Assessment

Q & A

phil-hogan-cap27/01/2017

Read here Commissioner Phil Hogan’s Newsletter on: How does the CAP affect your life as an EU citizen?

 

 

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11/01/2017   

CAP:  Mapping and analysis of the implementation of the CAP – Final report November 2016

Mapping and analysis of the implementation of the CAP, financed by the European Commission, was carried out by ECORYS, the Institute for European Environmental Policy and Wageningen University and Research. The conclusions, recommendations and opinions presented in this report reflect the opinion of the consultant and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Commission.

Judgement on the quality of the report

Full text

Executive summary

Annexes:

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BXL EP + FLAG30/11/2016

CAP:  European Parliament Briefing on Common Agricultural Policy and revision of the 2014-2020 MFF  

 


 

 

 

cap28/10/2016

CAP: European Parliament Study CAP Reform Post-2020 – Challenges in Agriculture

 

 


 

 

 

BXL Rules and regulations 2

14/09/2016

CAP: Omnibus Regulation – Further Simplification of the CAP

Building on Commissioner Hogan’s commitment to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy and the four waves of simplification measures already introduced over the past year, a further series of measures have been included in the Omnibus Regulation published by the European Commission today.

The measures proposed today are aimed at further simplifying the policy with a view to easing the burden on and making life easier for both farmers and national authorities. While many of the measures proposed are quite technical in nature, a number are more significant in nature and should have a more significant impact on the simplification of the CAP.

In particular, changes are proposed to Rural Development Regulation to provide for a sector specific Income Stabilisation Tool. This will give MS the possibility to design a tool tailored for a specific sector, which it is intended will make it more attractive for both farmers and administrations.  The proposal also responds to the need to provide better means to support farmers in times of market crisis and reflects recent difficult experiences in a number of sectors.

A further substantial change has been proposed to the RD Regulation to introduce simpler rules for accessing loans and other Financial Instruments. These changes are intended to give the necessary boost to make better use of financial instruments in the agricultural sector and providing greater access to capital for farmers, particular young farmers for whom access to credit is an ongoing problem. The overall aim is to ensure the better targeting of public money and to increase the competitiveness of the farming sector.

In the Direct Payments Regulation, the Commission is proposing to allow MS greater discretion in the application of the definition of an “active farmer”. In effect, MS will be able to decide whether or not they wish to continue applying the existing definition of “active farmer”. If applied, the system will become considerably less burdensome and will substantially ease the paperwork for both farmers and national/regional administrations.

The proposals published today by the European Commission are part of the review package of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF). A full list of the measures included in the draft Omnibus Regulation is included in the attached annex and apply to all four of the basic CAP Regulations – Direct Payments, Rural Development, CMO and Horizontal Regulation.

The proposals made today require the full co-decision with the Council and the European Parliament, the proposed changes are not changing the orientation of the policy and the aim is that these elements, which form part of the recasting of the Financial Regulation, can be in force by the start of 2018.

Commenting on the Commission’s draft Omnibus Regulation, Commissioner Hogan said “the proposal made today is further evidence of my commitment and that of the Commission to simplify the application of rules across a range of areas. In terms of the Common Agricultural Policy, the changes proposed are all important and, taken with the previous simplification actions, will remove a number of key bottlenecks and make a considerable difference in the implementation of the policy, particularly to the benefit of farmers.

I have been and I remain focused on the simplification of the CAP and I am particularly pleased that a number of the changes proposed today, notably in relation to the IST, access to financial instruments and the application of the active farmer clause, respond directly to the concerns of farmers that I have been hearing consistently since my appointment and throughout my visits to Member States.”

 

 


 

 

 

EP STUDY CAPCAP: AUGUST 2016:   EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT STUDY: RESEARCH FOR AGRI COMMITTEE – THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN THE EU’S EXTERNAL ACTION AND THE COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY

The CAP has been strongly influenced by the EU’s External Actions. The various Enlargements, and trade policies to favour its neighbours to both the East and South, and for its former colonies, have left their mark. However it is external pressures through the GATT/WTO that have had the most defining effect.

Current pressures stem from a new generation of Free Trade agreements, the need to reduce agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, and to respond to Brexit.  Read the Study here


 

 

CAP IRELAND

July 2016: The CAP in Ireland

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is aimed at helping European farmers meet the needs of 500 million Europeans. Its main objectives are to provide a stable and safe food supply at affordable prices for consumers, while ensuring a decent standard of living for farmers.  More information on Ireland here

 


 

Agri employment

27/05/2016   CAP at a glance

The common agricultural policy (CAP) is aimed at helping European farmers meet the need to feed more than 500 million Europeans. Its main objectives are to provide a stable, sustainably produced supply of safe food at affordable prices for consumers, while also ensuring a decent standard of living for 22 million farmers and agricultural workers.

The EU agriculture sector has roughly 11 million farms, which provide work for roughly 22 million agri-workers. But this figure doubles to 44 million if you include also the jobs created in the food processing, food retail and food services, making the EU agri-food sector the largest employment sector in the economy.  More information here


 

CAP BEYOND THE CRISIS

05/04/2016  “CAP Beyond the Crisis – Paving the way for a sustainable growth for the EU”

 

Concluding Remarks –read speech in full here

The crisis in the agricultural markets, particularly in the dairy and pigmeat sectors, has been with us for some time now and looks likely to be with us for a while yet. It is useful, therefore, to have this opportunity to try to look beyond it and to see what the CAP can do, not alone for food producers but for society.

I have not dwelt to any degree on the measures that the Commission has taken to alleviate the pressure on producers, I think they are well understood at this stage. What I will say is that we have essentially deployed the full contents of the toolbox presented in the CAP. That includes measures never previously used such as the activation of Article 222 of the CMO, relating to cooperation among producers.

While how this measure will work is not in the hands of the Commission, I am anxious that it is used effectively as a contribution towards greater market balance in the dairy sector. It was with this in mind that I met last week with COPA-COGECA and the European Dairy Association (EDA) to outline how Article 222 of the CMO Regulation will and should work when it is activated by the Commission. I took the opportunity of those meetings to encourage its use with a view to ensuring that it would be an effective tool in contributing to a stabilisation of dairy production patterns.

I know that we will get beyond the crisis and when we do I want to encourage a greater understanding of the role of the CAP as a policy that delivers for society in the broadest sense, whether that it is in terms of providing jobs, growth and investment in the agri-food sector; meeting the needs of food security; through the provision of public environmental goods that contribute to the maintenance and protection of our rural landscapes or help to address the climate challenge that we must all face together.

I take confidence from the Eurobarometer surveys which show that the CAP enjoys the support of EU citizens. But I do not take that confidence for granted. It is something for which we must work, argue and explain.

With the right combination of policy and communication, I believe that we can secure the place of the Common Agricultural Policy as a policy that is central to the delivery of sustainable growth in the EU, today and tomorrow.

The CAP is not just about farming and food to deliver on the objective of food security. it is also about public goods for society, the means of implementation for which farmers are well placed to provide and it is also about valued-added jobs for rural areas.




Drapeaux européens devant le Berlaymont

29/03/2016

CAP: Financial Discipline in 2017 slightly lower than for 2016

The European Commission has adopted a proposal on the application of the financial discipline mechanism for the CAP budget for the financial year 2017.

In order to ensure that the crisis reserve of € 450.5 million is available in the 2017 budget, the proposal aims to reduce CAP Direct Payments exceeding € 2000 by 1.366744%, with the exception of direct payments for farmers in Croatia as they are still being phased-in. This rate is slightly lower than the 1.393041% that was applied in 2016 (for a reserve of € 441.6 million) as the 2017 exercise will include Romania and Bulgaria for the first time because Direct Payments in those countries will be fully phased-in.

According to EU budget rules, the Commission is obliged to table a proposal on financial discipline before the end of March. The Council and European Parliament now have until 30 June 2016 to fix the rate of financial discipline. In the absence of such an agreement by 30 June, the Commission will set the rate.

In drawing up the 2017 Draft Budget, the first budgetary estimates for direct payments and market related expenditure show that the net balance available for EAGF expenditure for 2017 is not likely to be exceeded and an additional financial discipline for budget year 2017 is therefore not needed for the purpose of respecting the EAGF ceiling.

In October, the Commission will present an amending letter to the 2017 draft budget, which will update forecast budget needs.

In that context, the Commission may then also update the rate of financial discipline no later than 1 December.

According to CAP legislation, amounts generated by financial discipline which remain available in the EAGF budget at the end of the financial year, including those of the crisis reserve, shall be reimbursed to farmers.



CAP INDICATORS
29/03/2016  CAP context indicators updated

As part of the 2013 CAP Reform and the emphasis given to performance-based EU spending, the Commission has established a set of CAP Indicators linked to output, results and impact – aimed at measuring the effects of policy measures.

Context indicators  have also been set up for monitoring general contextual trends in the economy, environment and society which may effect the performance of the CAP. The Commission has recently updated these context indicators with the latest figures available at the end of 2015 pdf file.   Read document in full here  pdf file

These show for example that the most recent survey (in 2013) put the number of EU farm holdings at 10.84 million, with an average size of 16.1 ha. The largest average holdings are in the Czech Republic (133 ha), the UK (94 ha) and Slovakia (81 ha). This compares with the previous available figures (for 2010) putting the EU average for 12.2 million holdings at 14.4 ha.


HOGAN AT EP AG CMTEE 18 JANCAP: Commissioner Hogan proposes a fairer and more transparent penalty system for direct payments

The latest tranche of simplification measures unveiled by EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan will include a raft of measures designed to end the “climate of fear” for farmers when applying for aid under the Common Agricultural Policy 

19/01/2016:   In line with the ongoing efforts to simplify the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Commissioner Phil Hogan presented on 18 January  his latest proposals to the members of the Agriculture and Rural Development committee of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg.
The focus of the newly announced simplification package is on the penalty system for most direct payment schemes, to take into account reasonable concerns by farmers in case of unintentional mistakes while also reducing the frequency of errors and therefore protecting public funds.
The simplification package unveiled yesterday by Commissioner Hogan consists of three complementary elements. First of all, preliminary checks of aid applications would allow farmers to make corrections to their aid applications during a period of up to 35 days after the final date of submission without any penalties.
Second, the system of administrative penalties for direct payments would be simplified. Whereas the current system for the calculation of penalties is based on different categories that can result in penalties of sometime more than double than what is over-declared, the different categories will be replaced by a simple penalty, which is 1.5 times the area over-declared. This reduced level of penalties, when approved, would apply for 2016. Small over-declarations that are up to 3 per cent of the area declared or 2 hectares would continue to not be penalised.
Third, a ‘yellow card’ system for first offenders would be introduced. Where the over-declaration is minor (below 10% of the area determined), the administrative penalty would be cut in half.
Farmers having received a yellow card will be registered and will be subject to an on-the-spot control the following year.
Commenting on the proposed changes, Commissioner Hogan said: “These simplification measures should have a direct effect on farmers, sending a clear message that our interest is not to catch farmers out as it were, but ensure that public money is well spent. Farmers, I know, fully support that goal.  Read more

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 article 68CAP:  Evaluation of Article 68 measures

The evaluation of Article 68 measures, financed by the European Commission, was carried out by Agrosynergie GEIE, consortium composed of Oréade-Brèche Sarl and COGEA S.r.l. The conclusions, recommendations and opinions presented in this report reflect the opinion of the consultant and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Commission.

 

The Specific Support under Article 68

In 2003, a substantial reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) introduced the full decoupling of direct aids from production. This could have strong transitional effects. Member States were thus allowed to grant optional coupled payments in specific cases. This optionality was maintained after the CAP Health Check in 2009 with the introduction of Article 68 of Council Regulation (EC) 73/2009. It broadened the range of such Specific Support, with the possibility of granting coupled or decoupled payments depending on the objectives assigned.   Read more

Judgement on the quality of the report 

Full text of the Report 

Executive summary 

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CAP SIMPLIFICTATION STATE OF PLAY 05-01-2016

Read here the European Parliament Briefing on CAP simplification: State of play – 05-01-2016

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2014-2020, with a budget of €408.31 billion and more than 7 million beneficiaries across Europe, was approved in 2013. At Member State level, implementation began in 2015 and is still ongoing. In this context, simplification of the CAP is an objective shared by the European institutions as well as national administrations, stakeholders, and above all, farmers. The Commission considers CAP simplification to be a key priority, even more today than in the past, as confirmed by Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan’s address to the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in December 2014. The Commission has already started the simplification process, and at the end of 2015 put forward a technical simplification package consisting of delegated and implementing acts. Another simplification package is scheduled for spring 2016. In May 2015, at the European Parliament hearing on ‘How to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy’, some Members insisted that, if the Commission were serious about simplifying the CAP and reducing bureaucracy, it would need to review the legal text and not simply make changes by way of secondary legislation. Nonetheless, it appears unlikely that a major restructuring of the basic architecture of the CAP will take place in the current programming period. Instead, a fine-tuning or light review of certain of its elements might be anticipated. More substantial proposals for a post 2020 CAP might be presented only after 2017, in line with the communication on the post 2020 Multiannual Financial Framework. In this context, particularly regarding the political elements of the CAP, the role of the European Parliament, as co-legislator, is significant and will be of utmost importance for an effective simplification process.

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Eurobarometer: Europeans, Agriculture and the CAP

cap barametre06/01/2016:  There is broad support among Europeans for the contribution of the CAP to the European Commission’s top priorities, according to a new Eurobarometer survey, with nearly half of the respondents considering the role of the CAP “very important” for stimulating jobs and growth and for supporting the role of the farmer in the food chain. Other responses highlight the importance for the future that the general public puts on agriculture and rural areas (>90%) and confirm the trend from previous surveys which shows increasing concern for agriculture and rural areas as well as improved awareness of the CAP.

 

 

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The CAP

County_Mayo-Ireland-Rural_area

  Overview 

Lough_derg

  The CAP Post 2013

Lough_derg

  FAQ

rural_ireland

  Simplification

 

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Read here the study on the “Implementation of the First Pillar of the CAP 2014-2020 in EU Member States and Annexes” 10/12/2015

FIRST PILLAR OF CAP

The 2014-2020 reform introduced many relevant changes in the tool box of the CAP.  Within Pillar I of the most relevant issues has been that of direct payments, which became more targeted at specified goals than they have been in the past.  Another key issue is the role of Members States in tailoring the new CAP according to the needs of their primary sector.

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HOGAN SPEECH“The CAP: Meeting the major challenges”, Speech by Commissioner Hogan at the EU Agricultural Outlook Conference in Brussels – Agriculture and rural development. 01/12/2015

 

Speaking in front of over 400 stakeholders from the agricultural sector, Commissioner Hogan today presented his vision for agriculture in the European Union and the future of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Commissioner Hogan said: “The contribution of the CAP to addressing the economic, social and environmental issues shows that it is a policy not just for farmers but for all the people of Europe”.
He wholeheartedly applauded and praised farmers for their efforts to mitigate climate change and make the greening of the CAP work on the ground; however he added that climate-smart agriculture must go in hand in hand with ensuring that farming remains viable, underlining that feeding the world is a global necessity and “we must support our producers using all the instruments at our disposal”.
In this context, Commissioner Hogan also announced several upcoming trade missions to boost EU agri-food exports, concluding that the CAP must keep on delivering for all EU citizens and remain a living policy, fit-for-purpose – a Common Agricultural and Food Policy”.
Highlighting that the CAP is “the only EU policy which is fully integrated and funded from the EU budget”, Commissioner Hogan said that with the CAP, the EU is “driving a key strategic sector for the European economy and for European society”, and that the EU’s agricultural sector is becoming more innovative and competitive thanks to the CAP.

“The CAP: Meeting the major challenges”, Speech by Commissioner Hogan at the EU Agricultural Outlook Conference in Brussels – Agriculture and rural development >> Read Commissioner Hogan’s speech

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HOGAN AT AG COUNCILSimplification of the Common Agricultural 

The Council had an exchange of views on the state of play of the simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Commission presented its simplification agenda as a follow-up toPolicy 16/11/2015

the Council conclusions on CAP simplification (8485/15).

Member states welcomed the Commission proposal to review firstly the delegated and

implementing acts of the reformed CAP in line with the Council conclusions. The most important

issues highlighted by member states as needing simplification in the area of direct payments were

the ‘greening’ measures and the controls. Also noted were, for rural development, the programming

and approval. Delegations were divided on the opportunity to envisage the review of basic acts of

the CAP in the longer term.

The Commission proposed the implementation of simplification measures of delegated and

implementing acts of the reformed CAP in particular as regards the regulation on single common

market organisation (single CMO) and the regulation on direct payments (except the greening

measures). Those measures adopted at the end of this year could be implemented in 2016.

In addition, the Commission considers the adoption next year of other simplification measures on

single CMO and on the greening of the direct payments for implementation in 2017.

 

CAP simplification is part of the EU’s overall strategy to streamline and reduce EU legislation

wherever possible. In this context, the EU institutions decided to look at what has been agreed in

the recent CAP reform and see what improvements can be made in the short or medium term and

also what could be done better next time.

Read also:

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Read the briefing by the European Parliament on Supporting Young Farmers here

bxl RESULTS AGRICULTUE COUNCIL

Simplification of the CAP

Simplification of the CAP

Simplification of the CAP

Simplification of the CAP

Simplification of the CAP

Simplification of the CAP

Simplification of the CAP

CAP SIMPLIFICATION

PHIL HOGAN - 1

 

Council conclusions on simplification of CAP

The Council adopted conclusions on the simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Since the beginning of 2015, this issue has become one of the priorities for the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission. In recent months, the Presidency has consulted ministers and summarised their views on priority areas for simplification, based on the national experiences of implementation of the recently reformed CAP.

The President of the Council, Minister Duklavs declared : 
“With these conclusions the Council reaffirms its strong commitment to make the new CAP easier to implement for all actors involved “..

Council conclusions on the Simplification of the Common Agriculture Policy 11

Simplifying the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Outcome of the Agriculture Council meeting

11/05/2015:  CAP simplification: Commissioner Hogan announces first actions and further steps

A first set of concrete actions towards CAP simplification have been announced by EU Agriculture & Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan today, on issues related to the guidelines for Direct Payments this year. In a debate on CAP Simplification at today’s Agriculture Council, the Commissioner outlined certain changes which can be implemented this year and explained the further steps envisaged.  Read announcement in full: CAP simplification

  

 

AGRICULTURE

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Read all about the EU and the Common Agricultural Policy  here

CAP SIMPLIFICATION

PHIL HOGAN - 2

Discussion on Simplification at the European Parliament Agriculture Committee on Tuesday 24 March. Read the speaking notes by Commissioner Phil Hogan here

Video of the committee meeting – Tuesday, 24 March 2015 – 09:06 – Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

CAP- Direct payments – 23 January

Direct payments are payments granted directly to farmers under certain support schemes.  Examples are the Single Payment Scheme and  the Single Area Payment Scheme

The recent CAP reform introduced a new system of direct payments. >> Slide show: “Implementation of the new system of direct payments – Member State notifications”This synthesis reflects the content of Member States’ notifications available to the Commission services on 23/01/2015. It is made available without prejudice to any finding in respect of their compliance with the regulatory Framework.

On 16 January 2015,  at the “Green Week” in Berlin, Commissioner Phil Hogan launched a new publication that showcases how the CAP works hand in hand with EU development aims. The document explains how the EU’s agricultural policy meets the EU’s commitment to policy coherence for development, which aims to minimise problems for developing countries due to policies. The new publication reflects the importance of agriculture to development throughout this development-focused year. 2015, the European Year for Development, will see the culmination of the international community’s work on new Sustainable Development Goals and EXPO Milano


Antitrust: Commission consults on draft guidelines on joint selling of olive oïl, beef, veal and arable crops – 15 January 2015

The European Commission is inviting comments on new draft guidelines on the application of EU antitrust rules in the agricultural sector. After a reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), new specific rules apply to the sale of olive oil, beef and veal livestock and arable crops. In particular, the new rules allow producers to jointly commercialise these products if certain conditions are fulfilled, including that their cooperation creates significant efficiencies. The Commission’s guidelines will contribute to ensuring that the implementation of the CAP reform improves the functioning of the food supply chain and safeguards effective competition and innovation on the markets for agricultural products. Responses to the public consultation can be submitted until 5 May 2015. In light of the submissions received, the Commission will then review its proposal, with the aim of adopting final guidelines by the end of 2015. On 1 January 2014, the new EU CAP (see also Memo) entered into force, including a specific competition regime for certain agricultural products. In particular, the reform allows producers jointly commercialise olive oil, beef and veal livestock and arable crops via producer organisations or associations of producer organisations, provided that: i.     Such organisations should make farmers significantly more efficient by providing supporting services, such as storage, distribution or transport services; and ii.     The quantity marketed by the organisation does not exceed certain thresholds. The Commission is now providing guidance on how these new rules can be best used to boost investment and growth, while maintaining a level playing field for all operators in the Single Market. In particular, the draft guidelines set out:

  • examples of how producer organisations can provide services that generate significant efficiencies for farmers;
  • guidance on how to check that the volumes marketed by producer organisations do not exceed certain production volume limits; and
  • the situations in which competition authorities may apply a safeguard clause and have joint commercialisation contracts by a producer organisation re-opened or cancelled.

National competition authorities and ministries of agriculture have already been consulted on this proposal. The Commission now invites stakeholders to provide their views on the draft guidelines. Contributions can be sent until 5 May 2015. The Commission will present the proposals in a conference on 4 March 2015 to stakeholders, national competition authorities and ministries of agriculture. The full text of the proposals is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2015_cmo_regulation/index_en.html Background The Commission’s impact assessment in the context of the CAP reform pointed out the need to improve the functioning of the food supply chain and to create the right conditions for the agricultural sector to become more competitive and innovative. In particular, this implies encouraging cooperation between farmers while ensuring competition in the sector. The 2013 CAP Reform modifies antitrust rules for the agricultural sector, in particular as regards the olive oil, beef and veal and arable crops sectors. The new rules are laid out in Regulation 1308/2013 establishing a Common Market Organisation for agricultural products (“CMO Regulation“). In June 2014, the Commission announced that it would provide guidelines about potential competition law issues arising in the implementation of this new regime. Moreover, the Parliament has requested to ensure a consistent application of the 2013 CAP reform across EU Member States and Article 206 of the CMO Regulation requires the Commission to adopt guidelines to that effect where appropriate.

IP/15/3322


CAP context indicators – 14 January 2015 Context indicators reflect relevant aspects of the general contextual trends in the economy, environment and society that are likely to have an influence on the implementation, achievements and performance of the CAP. A set of 45 indicators has been identified to describe the general context in which policy measures are designed, planned and implemented. They form part of the monitoring and evaluation framework for the CAP 2014-2020 and are used in rural development programmes for a comprehensive overall description of the current situation of the programming area. The European Commission provides an annual update of data (subject to availability) for these indicators. >> Go to the 2014 context indicator update


 

BXL STUDY THE FIRST CAP REFORM CAP REFORM STUDY – 09 JANUARY 2015 European Parliament Study ” The first CAP Reform Under the ordinary legislative procedure: A political Economy Perspective”.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION Campaign on the new CAP “Taking care of our roots” http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-for-our-roots/index_en.htm Basic regulations of the new CAP http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/newsroom/155_en.htm Legal proposals http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-post-2013/legal-proposals/index_en.htm


13/12/2014     Phil Hogan Commissioner  said Simplification as a top priority in 2015

 

31/07/2014      Official Journal L277

The European Commission has today published further detailed rules relating to the implementation of the CAP reform.

These include delegated and implementing acts linked to support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) (supplementing the “Rural Development” Basic Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013).

>> Read the delegated act in the Official Journal

>> Read the implementing act in the Official Journal

With the publication of these texts, Member States now have all the detailed elements they require in order to programme and implement rural development support as part of the CAP reform at national and regional level.

The European Commission also published the implementing act laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 (the “Horizontal Regulation”) with regard to the integrated administration and control system (IACS), rural development measures and cross compliance.

>> Read the implementing act in the Official Journal

This complements the recent publication, on 20 June 2014, of delegated and implementing acts linked to direct payments (supplementing the “Direct Payments” Basic Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013), and of a delegated act relating to the integrated administration and control system (IACS) and conditions for refusal or withdrawal of payments and administrative penalties applicable to direct payments, rural development support and cross compliance.

With today’s publication, the entire set of rules related to direct payments schemes, including from an administration and control point of view, is now available to Member States and farmers. Member States now have all the detailed elements they require in order to implement direct payment aspects of CAP reform at national or regional level as from 1 January 2015.

More information

>> Broad summary of the main elements of these (and other) delegated acts, originally published on 

09/07/2014

A report published today by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) reveals that the Commission did not adequately supervise Member States for the calculation of payment entitlements to EU farm support under the Single Payment Scheme in the period 2010-2012. The distribution of the available support by the Member States was not always consistent with EU principles and policy objectives and the payment entitlements were sometimes incorrectly calculated.”

CAP Reform: further delegated and implementing acts on aspects of direct payments and rural development

20/06/2014       >> Read the working document 20/06/2014       Official Journal L181 11/03/2014       Delegated acts on the CAP Reform – an explanation of the main elements


CAP reform – basic Regulations

The four basic EU regulations of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are published in the Official Journal of 20 December 2013.

These four legislative texts reflect the political agreement between the European Commission, EU Member States Agriculture Ministers (in the Council) and the European Parliament. With these new rules, the vast majority of CAP legislation will be defined under four consecutive Regulations – a significant simplification – covering:

To ensure a smooth transition, Regulation 1310/2013 lays down certain transitional provisions as regards the application of the four basic regulations in the year 2014.

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