CAP: What is different and what remains the same in Pillar I and Pillar II?
The details of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) were announced today, Tuesday, July 21. There are a number of changes in the new CAP compared to the current, with one such change being the format of the “two-pillar structure”.
The European Council has “agreed” the CAP budget for the next seven years (2021-2027) as part of the wider Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).
CAP has a “two-pillar structure” – consisting of Pillar I and Pillar II. These two pillars are the sub-headings of CAP, helping to divide the elements of the policy.
Same, but different…
One of the changes announced by the council in its official document is that although in the new CAP these two pillars will still perform their functions similar to how they currently do, a change has been made to their format.
The aim of this new plan is to contribute to “simplification and flexibility for EU member states”, according to the council.
Pillar I: Direct payments and market measures
Pillar I concerns direct payments and market measures. According to the council, it will “contribute to a higher level of environmental and climate ambition”.
The measures under Pillar I include the continuation of external convergence of direct payments – essentially, narrowing the difference between actual and average direct payments to farmers across the EU.
There will also be a replacement for the current Agricultural Crisis Reserve, which will now be the Agricultural Reserve. The intention of this reserve is to “provide support for the agricultural sector for the purpose of market management or stabilisation, or in the case of crises affecting agricultural production or distribution”, as outlined in the council’s document.
This reserve will be established at “the beginning of each year in the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund [EAGF]” according to the council.
Pillar II: Rural development
Pillar II exists with the aim to aid development in rural areas through economic and social schemes.
Through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), there will be €77,850 million allocated.
Ireland’s potential additional fund allocation is €300 million, as stated by the council.
Contrary to Pillar I, which is entirely financed by the EU, Pillar II is co-financed by the EAFRD, along with regional or national funds. These co-financing rates vary, according to the region and measure concerned.
Schemes that are currently in place in Ireland co-funded under CAP and national funding include GLAS and TAMS.
‘A reformed and modernised CAP’
Earlier today, a ‘reformed and modernised’ CAP budget was announced for the next seven years by the European Council. A figure of €356.3 billion (in what the council refers to as ‘2018 prices’) has been allocated under the heading of ‘Natural Resources and Environment’.