European Union: agreement of the Twenty-Seven on the new common agricultural policy, more demanding in terms of the environment

March 23, 2020 by No Comments

It took two days of meeting to reach this decision. The Agriculture Ministers of the European Union agreed on Wednesday 21 October on a reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP), marked by binding environmental rules. A crucial first step before negotiations with MEPs.

“After a long struggle, we came to a crucial agreement”, with a “good balance” responding to “aspirations for a greener, fairer and simpler CAP”German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) said early Wednesday morning after these long talks between ministers in Luxembourg.

The guidelines adopted by the member states will now be the subject of negotiations with the European Parliament, which votes this week on its own proposals. States and MEPs will have to decide together by early 2021, on rules that will apply from January 2023.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski called the ministers’ agreement a “good starting point” for these negotiations, considering that a “good compromise” could now be found.

With an already fixed budget of around 387 billion euros for seven years, the CAP is the EU’s biggest budget item. According to the agreement of the 27, all farmers should be required to respect much stricter environmental standards, a sine qua non condition for receiving European financial aid. Small farms would be subject to simplified controls, “which would reduce the administrative burden, while at the same time ensuring their contribution to environmental and climate objectives”.

Mostly the “eco-diets”, a system of bonuses paid to farmers to support participation in more demanding environmental programs, would become compulsory. Each state will have to devote at least 20% of direct EU payments to it. The aim is for farms to receive additional funds if they go beyond basic climate and environmental standards.

This point has been the subject of significant friction. Many eastern European states fear losing EU funds if an insufficient number of farmers participate in environmental programs. “Just a few hours ago we had very different opinions”, highlighted Janusz Wojciechowski. This agreement is “good news for our farmers”.

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