New EU farm policy clears key hurdle

The View from EuropeAgriculture MEPs endorse Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform deal

Legislation for the new CAP was endorsed by the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee yesterday evening, following last week’s informal agreement in talks between the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission.

“Today’s vote gives the reformed common agricultural policy its final shape until 2020. For the first time in the history of the CAP reform process, the committee has managed to substantially change and improve CAP regulations. The result is simpler CAP that is more relevant to enterprises, workers, the next generation of farmers and rural areas,” said Agriculture Committee chair and negotiating team leader Paolo De Castro in a press statement.

The vote confirmed last week’s informal deal on issues left out of the first agreement on CAP reform last June. Last week, Agriculture MEPs won an increase in the rural development co-financing rate for less-developed regions, outermost regions and smaller Aegean islands to 85 per cent. In addition direct basic or single area payments of above €150,000 to large farms will be reduced by at least five per cent.

In June, Parliament’s negotiators inter alia inserted a rule that direct payments may go only to active farmers and boosted “greening efforts”, by also winning its agreement to earmark 30 per cent of total rural development spending for environment measures. They furthermore obtained a mandatory EU-wide scheme to give farmers under 41 years old an extra 25 per cent in additional top-up payments for their first 25 to 90 hectares.

Yesterday’s vote still needs to be confirmed by Parliament as a whole in a plenary vote at the October or November session, according to press office of the European Parliament.

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