The countries of the European Union and the European Parliament have reached this Friday a provisional agreement on the rules will govern the operation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) starting in 2023, with which the bloc wants to increase the contribution of the agricultural sector to the fight against climate change and the Green Pact.
It took three years of negotiations between Member States and MEPs to unlock the three regulations of the new CAP, which will introduce as great novelties the so-called eco-schemes and a new management model based on national strategic plans.
«It produces a great satisfaction to be able to say that we have achieved it! » The Commissioner of Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, has announced on the social network Twitter, who has admitted that he would have wanted a “different result” in some aspects despite being “happy” with the agreement reached at a general level.
Mamy wreszcie polityczne porozumienie w sprawie reformy Wspólnej Polityki Rolnej. Więcej troski or środowisko, klimat, dobrostan zwierząt ale też więcej szans dla rolników. Cieszę się bardzo bo jeszcze wczoraj było mocno pod górę.
Teraz tylko mądre i ambitne plany strategiczne. https://t.co/o2zC6fvUoK
– Janusz Wojciechowski (@jwojc) June 25, 2021
The CAP is the largest item of the Community budget with an endowment of 380,000 million euros for the period 2021-2027, Spain has about 37,000 million in direct payments for farmers and ranchers and almost 8,000 million for rural development during the seven years.
The agreement has been reached between the negotiating team of the European Parliament and the government of Portugal, which until the end of this month acts on behalf of the Twenty-seven as the rotating presidency of the EU. The agriculture ministers of the Member States meet on Monday and Tuesday of next week to assess the details and decide whether to give their approval.
Ahead of this meeting, the head of the negotiating team of the European Parliament, the German MEP Norbert Lins, has asked in a press conference the heads of Agriculture of the 27 “Accept” an agreement that “may not be perfect” but it is “a good compromise.”
“The CAP will be fairer, more sustainable and good for producers. Assures that the countryside is attractive and gives farmers and ranchers incentives to do more to protect the environment, “he defended.
Eco-schemes and other news
The new CAP will introduce a new management model that will be based on the national strategic plans to be elaborated by the governments of the bloc based on a series of common objectives and indicators. These plans will then have to be reviewed and approved by the European Commission.
The other great novelty of the CAP that will be applied from 2023 will be the introduction of the new ecological regimes or eco-schemes, a new payment that countries will have to obligatorily offer their producers, although they will be able to decide whether to use them or not.
These new grants seek to compensate those farmers and ranchers who adopt practices beneficial to the environment that are more ambitious than the rMandatory requirements and their minimum endowment it was precisely the great obstacle to the negotiations.
The positions of the Member States and MEPs were far apart, because the former they wanted 20% of direct payments to be reserved these eco-schemes, but the latter claimed 30%. The middle ground has been the compromise solution: 25% of direct aid will have to be dedicated to these new ecological regimes.
In exchange for this percentage, the Twenty-seven have managed to establish a series of flexibility clauses so that this money is not lost if it is impossible to reach that threshold. Thus, the two institutions have agreed to a two-year learning period, which may be allocated only 20% to eco-schemes, among other issues.
10% payments to small farms
In addition to the voluntary green regimes, another aspect that has divided MEPs and capitals until the last moment is establish a mechanism to make CAP aid better distributed. The provisional agreement finally stipulates at this point that at least 10% of the direct payments will have to be destined for small and medium-sized farms.
To this end, Member States may create an extraordinary payment or may also choose to progressively reduce payments from the 60,000 euros per farm and limit it to 100,000 euros. Brussels had proposed that this second option be mandatory, but the idea was opposed by European governments.
Finally, the third major stumbling block in the negotiations has been the “Social dimension” that the European Parliament has advocated including the rules of the CAP. Finally, the pact between the two parties contemplates the creation of a mechanism to “connect national labor inspectors with the PAC payment agencies from 2025 at the latest” to sanction possible infractions of labor regulations in the field.