05 May 2015
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE DISCUSSED SIMPLIFICTION – 05 MAYBrussels Daily
Suggestions on what should be simplified in the EU’s farm policy and how were at the heart of Monday’s debate with experts in the Agriculture committee. MEPs stressed that the reduction of administrative burden is crucial but some of them noted that a real difference can be achieved only if legal texts are updated as well.
The Agriculture committee’s hearing on the Commission’s plans to simplify the EU’s farm policy and its provisions on greening, market measures and controls featured representatives of farmers, paying agencies and the EU’s executive.
The experts put forward their ideas on what could be simplified in the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) focusing e.g. on checks and controls, calculation of financial sanctions, and practical introduction of Ecological Focus Area (EFAs) features – such as fallow land and buffer strips – on the ground and their mapping. They also called for better and simpler guidance notes, technical support and help to facilitate cooperation among paying agencies and exchange of best practices.
Commission’s intentions welcomed but might not be enough, say MEPs
MEPs in general welcomed Commission’s commitment to simplification some of them saying that this is an important step in ensuring that farmers, especially the young ones, stay in the sector. The simplification is a collective duty and the result of it must be a proper one, several MEPs said but others insisted that to have a real impact, this exercise would have to involve changes in the legal texts.
Some MEPs blamed the greening provisions in the CAP reform for increasing the administrative burden for farmers. Others disagreed vigorously saying that the implementation of new environmental provisions on the ground could be a success, despite some teething problems.
Several members also called for a more practically-oriented approach when it comes to controls and sanctions. These are currently causing problems particularly to smallholders who are being overburdened with administrative work, they say. MEPs also called for more clarity on how the reform should be implemented on the ground to avoid misunderstandings and diverging application in different Member States.
Other ideas, including introduction of an EU charter of fundamental rights for farmers, were floated by some MEPs during the hearing. Some members also suggested that the committee should use this hearing to get ready for future talks about the next EU’s farm policy reform.
To watch the full hearing, click on the VOD link here.