Commission opens door to increased advance CAP payments

The European Commission is set to provide for an increase in the advances for direct payments and rural development payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Speaking at a video meeting of European agriculture ministers last week, Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said that ministers from many member states had requested that he show flexibility on this issue.

“Many of you have requested some flexibility for farmers on the following measures… [including] increasing the advances for direct payments and rural development payments. Here, I will work with my colleagues in the College [of Commissioners] and will make sure that we get back to you very soon,” the commissioner said.

Commissioner Wojciechowski also highlighted that he has asked his personnel to “assess with diligence and flexibility” the ministers’ requests in relation to on-the-spot control requirements.

The commissioner also outlined a range of measures that could be considered in the future.

“In the event of serious market disruption, market support measures such as public intervention, APS [Aids to Private Storage], withdrawals, etc, and exceptional market measures are available under the CAP,” he highlighted.

SURE

Further developments on the possible increase in advances on CAP payments were seen today, Thursday, April 2.

In a statement, the European Commission said it is further increasing its response by proposing to set up a €100 billion “solidarity instrument” to help workers keep their incomes and help businesses stay afloat, called SURE.

Farmers and fishermen will also receive support. All of these measures are based on the current EU budget.

“Europe’s farming and fisheries have an essential role in providing us with the food we eat. They are hard hit by the crisis, in turn hitting our food supply chains and the local economies that the sectors sustain,” the commission said.

The commission said it will “shortly propose a range of measures to ensure that farmers and other beneficiaries can get the support they need from the CAP”.

The statement gave examples of this, including:

  • Granting more time to introduce applications for support and more time to allow administrations to process them;
  • Increasing advances for direct payments and rural development payments;
  • Offering additional flexibility for on-the-spot checks to minimise the need for physical contact and to reduce administrative burden.

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