CAP: Farmers ‘will be rewarded’ for environmental measures – Kelly

Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly has assured farmers that they will be rewarded for the environmental measures they take under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

AgriLand has reported that this morning (Wednesday, October 21) the EU’s Council of Agriculture Ministers has agreed its position on the next CAP.

This agreed position puts forward commitments from member states for “higher environmental ambition” with instruments like mandatory eco-schemes and enhanced conditionality.

Kelly stated that this is “the most progressive CAP” in terms of the environment. Speaking to EuroParlRadio, he said:

“Many [farmers] will not be happy with that, but when they look at it, by and large, they’ll say this is the direction the world is going, they’ll want to move in that direction.

“They will want to know they will be rewarded for it – and they will.

“The alternative is no CAP and that’s obviously the worst possible situation because everything would break down and you would have no progress.”

The next CAP entails…

The council’s position (which was agreed in the early hours of this morning) would allow member states to have flexibility in how they would reach environmental goals. For example, there would be a two-year pilot phase for eco-schemes, and member states would have flexibility on how to allocate funds under different “green practices”.

The agreed position gives the council as a whole a negotiating position to take into talks with the European Parliament, which is due to decide its position on CAP this week as well.

Julia Klochner, the German agriculture minister (who has led the council meetings in the last two days as Germany currently holds the European presidency), said: “Today’s agreement is a milestone for Europe’s agricultural policy.

“Member states demonstrated their ambition for higher environmental standards in farming and at the same time supported the needed flexibility in ensuring farmers’ competitiveness. This agreement fulfils the aspiration of a greener, fairer and simpler CAP,” Klochner added.

It was agreed that farmers would receive financial support under the condition that they “adopt practices beneficial for the climate and the environment, to make the CAP even greener than before”.

As well as that, eco-schemes will be used to provide additional support to farmers who are going beyond the basic environment and climate requirements.

The eco-schemes would be linked to a dedicated budget that would be part of the direct payments budget. This part of the budget will be “ring-fenced” and will need to be “unlocked” through the use of eco-schemes.