After closing a political agreement for the next PAC (Common Agricultural Policy) 2021 – 2027 in the marathon Council of Ministers of Agriculture on October 20 and 21 and the complex community legislative procedure has been overcome, the great challenge that awaits the Minister of Agriculture Luis Planas is to prepare the roadmap for its application in Spain. For the first time, a Strategic Plan will have to be submitted to the Commission after agreement with the entire sector and taking into account the “recommendations” that come in Brussels, thus coordinating with the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge of Teresa Ribera. At stake, the cast of 47,724 million euros for the next seven years for policies as different as rural development or eco-schemes.
Despite the fact that the new CAP will not come into force until 2023 and that the first draft of the Strategic Plan must be sent to the European Commission within a year, the Minister of Agriculture wants to achieve a global agreement next spring. To do this, they will meet again with the autonomous communities at least once more in April and bilaterally in the coming weeks. Faced with what lies ahead Planas asked in his meeting with the regional councilors responsibility, unity of action and willingness to agree. Before the media he declared that “this is a great opportunity to achieve a CAP for all, with an inclusive will ”. On the table topics such as direct aid, associated and sectorial programs, as well as aspects such as financing, training, generational change (two thirds of Spanish farmers are over 50 years old, highlighted by Agriculture) or the adoption of a Gender approach for second pillar grants (Rural Development).
The minister also took the opportunity to set some priorities such as maintaining the aid associated with sheep, carpino and dairy and beef cattleAs well as the support to other sectors such as rice and beet, the latter will be greatly impacted by the increase in VAT on sugar approved in the last Budgets and which Agriculture believes will not have the effects denounced by the employers.
Planas also launched a very specific proposal to the autonomies: the creation of what he called a “Reserve of good execution” in the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – the aid vehicle of the second pillar of the CAP – for those autonomies that need more funding.
There were also references to the part that will correspond to the primary sector of the Recovery and Resilience Plan promoted by the Executive based on the 72,000 million European reconstruction funds that Spain will receive in the next three years. Specific, 1,051 million euros for farmers and ranchers who, according to the minister, will be used for irrigation, the competitiveness of the sector, its digitization or crops under plastic, among other purposes.
At the moment, two relevant dates next week: on the 15th and 16th the last one is celebrated Council of Ministers of the EU for Agriculture and Fisheries of the year and on December 18 the “recommendations” of Brussels for the aforementioned roadmap will be known.