Omnibus regulation: Council adopts new, simplified, agricultural rules
On 1 January 2018 a series of technical improvements to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will enter into force which will simplify the life of European farmers and national administrations. The agricultural part of the so-called omnibus regulation was adopted today by the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, following the informal agreement reached with the European Parliament on 12 October.
“We promised to come up with a rapid agreement on new rules which will make the lives of European farmers easier. Today I am pleased to announce that we kept that promise, and the agricultural provisions of the omnibus regulation will enter into force on 1 January 2018.”
The agricultural part of the omnibus regulation amends the four CAP regulations: direct payments, rural development, common market organisation and the horizontal regulation.
Here are some of the key changes:
- Direct payments: the rules on permanent grassland have been modified so as to provide greater flexibility for member states. Certain elements of greening will also become simpler. In addition, the distinction between active and non-active farmers will become optional, thereby allowing member states where it resulted in an excessive administrative burden to discontinue it;
- Rural development: risk management measures will become more attractive as some thresholds are lowered while support rates are increased. Also, the use of financial instruments will be simplified;
- Common market organisation: some prerogatives of producer organisations such as planning production, optimising production costs, placing on the market and negotiating contracts for the supply of agricultural products on behalf of members, will be extended to all sectors with a view to improving the position of farmers in the supply chain. These prerogatives already exist in sectors such as olive oil, beef and arable crops. The option of collectively negotiating value sharing terms in contracts will be extended to sectors other than sugar and will be voluntary.