How are direct payments distributed in the EU?

There are many different schemes in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that contribute to direct payments. Each member state uses different schemes and distributes payments in its own way.

Three direct payments are compulsory in all member states. These are: the Basic Payment Scheme; greening; and the young farmer payment.

All member states pay the 30% greening payment. However, many countries do not use the full 2% allocation for the young farmer payment (Czech Republic, Estonia and Hungary).

The graph below shows the distribution of funds between the direct payment schemes in each member state in 2015.

Graph source: European Commission

The percentage dedicated to the Basic Payment Scheme varies in each country. In Ireland, 68% of direct payments come from the basic payment. This is on a par with Luxembourg and is the highest percentage dedicated to the basic payment across all of the member states.

Voluntary coupled support

Malta has the highest percentage of coupled payments in the EU (European Union). These payments take up 57% of the country’s total direct payments.

Coupled payments are used to maintain production levels of particular products during difficult times. The production of these products may not only be important for farm incomes, but also for economic, social and environmental reasons.

Redistributive payment

10 countries implement the redistributive payment. This payment helps to redistribute payments to smaller farms which need support.

30% of the national budget can be allocated to the redistributive payment. The amount paid to each farmer is the same and can only be paid on the first eligible hectares (this figure changes with member states).

In 2015, France paid a redistributive payment of €25/ha, while Belgium (Wallonia region only) paid €127/ha.