EU farming organisation pushes for simplified CAP

Farmers want a much simplified Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), according to Copa-Cogeca Secretary General Pekka Pesonen, who has written to EU Agriculture Commissioner on this matter.

His communication outlined areas where simplification in the new CAP is regarded as vital.

The move comes after the Commission launched a screening exercise earlier this year to simplify the entire CAP legislative process, inviting comments from key stakeholders on this matter.

“The most urgent problems that farmers across the EU are facing when implementing the new CAP are the gaps in the rules and the lack of clarity, especially with regard to the greening rules,” said Pesonen.

“The risk of unintentional errors during the first years of implementing the CAP will therefore be high, which would automatically cause payments to be cut.

“Since it is already too late to provide greater clarity about the rules, there must consequently be a certain amount of tolerance in the first years regarding cuts in greening payments. The whole sanctioning system also needs to be revised since even minor errors result in huge cuts in farmers’ payments”.

“We are also extremely worried that the number of controls will increase as a result of the numerous direct aid schemes under the new CAP. We will need to ensure that all eligibility conditions for the greening measures are controlled at the right moment with the higher control rate until all potential Ecological Focus Areas have been mapped.

“We therefore believe for instance that it makes sense to check all greening requirements that can be controlled at that moment in one inspection only.”

Pensonen also believes that the increasing amount of information requested by Brussels I the new Single Payment application forms will make the aid application more complex for farmers. This will be particularly the case in 2015 due to the extremely short period of time available to them.

“One way to alleviate the burden would be to ensure that farmers are given the possibility to correct errors as part of the application process”, he said

“In the longer term, once the Commission has gained experience in the first years of application, we need to see how the EU’s production potential is affected by these measures and whether they result in any clear environmental benefits. This is especially important with world food demand set to rise by 60% by 2050 and resources limited.”