A spokesman for EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos has confirmed to Agriland that Brussels will be in a position to ‘green light’ the first of the new EU Rural Development Programmes by the end of this year.

“It’s in every region’s interest to submit their rural development programmes as soon as possible,” he added.

“However, it is crucially important for the various regional authorities to keep Brussels updated as their plans are being progressed. This should ensure that once a plan is officially submitted, it will receive a fair wind. But there is no guarantee that the Commission will approve the various plans received on a first come: first served basis.

“The bottom line is that all of the Rural Development Plans submitted must be fully compliant with all of the relevant EU regulations. They must also complement all of the other EU support measures that are available in the respective regions.”

The Brussels-based Commission representative went on to confirm that there will be no wiggle room afforded to any region regarding the timetable set for the implementation of the new CAP support measures.

“It states quite clearly within the regulations that each region must notify Brussels of the detailed implementation measures by August 1. A deadline is a deadline and this will be strictly adhered to,” he further explained.

“What’s more, the European Commission will remain entirely neutral on the issue of how the CAP support measures are implemented on the ground. Dacian Ciolos is very aware that CAP reform will be debated strongly in the run-up to the EU elections, taking place next month.

“And, for this reason, it is very unlikely that the Commissioner will undertake any official visits within the European Union until the elections have taken place.”