Commission publishes recommendations for member states’ CAP plans

The European Commission has published recommendations for actions and policies to be included in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plans for each member state.

Under the future CAP, the EU envisages the member states playing a larger role in deciding how to achieve certain goals under the policy, as long as they adhere to general commitments.

Each member state is required to submit a strategic plan as to how they will go about doing this, which will be signed-off on by the commission.

Today (Friday, December 18), the commission has issued a set of recommendations, which member states will incorporate into their plans.

The recommendations are centered around meeting climate and environment objectives as part of the European Green Deal.

The strategic plans should establish how each member state will use the CAP instruments based on an analysis of their conditions and needs, within the Green Deal objectives.

The recommendations from the commission are based on each member state’s agriculture sector and rural areas.

In a document released by the commission, the recommendations are divided into several broad aims:

  • “Fostering a smart, resilient and diversified agricultural sector ensuring food security;
  • Bolstering environmental care and climate action and contributing to the environmental- and climate-related objectives of the union;
  • Strengthening the socio-economic fabric of rural areas and address societal concerns;
  • Fostering and sharing of knowledge, innovation and digitalisation in agriculture and rural areas.”

The recommendations take on goals and targets under the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy.

The commission says that the set of recommendations “show the direction” that the member state plans need to take to meet various objectives and targets.

The commission also outlines the current state of play to each member state in meeting their environmental objectives. For example, this map (below) was provided with the recommendations, and shows each member state’s approximate level of emissions from livestock (per hectare).

Image source: European-Commission


One of the most large-scale changes to the agriculture sector proposed in the various EU plans (Green Deal, Farm to Fork and Biodiversity) is a drive to have 25% of EU agricultural land farmed organically by 2030.

To achieve this, the commission has recommended to a large majority of member states to develop the necessary food supply chain structures; identify the local potential of organic production; promote the consumption of organic products; and ensure support for conversion to and maintenance of organic farming through rural development.

Regarding the CAP objectives related to increasing competitiveness and attracting young farmers, the commission recommends to multiple member states to facilitate access to finance; for example by making greater use of financial instruments available under the rural development framework.

Reduction in the use of pesticides is also a key goal, and the commission has recommended to member states to promote sustainable use of pesticides by ensuring the uptake of integrated pest management.

Another key recommendation points to the need to increase the value of agricultural products at primary producer level, through geographical indications or local and regional supply chains.