Convergence in the next CAP: ‘All…will have a level of at least €200/ha in 2022’

External convergence of direct payments will continue as part of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). That’s according to the European Council.

The council has “agreed” the CAP budget for the next seven years (2021-2027) as part of the wider Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The accompanying document outlines details of future convergence.

Also Read: Table: How much CAP money is earmarked for farmers over the next 7 years?

‘Bridge the gap’

The official document states: “Under Pillar I, external convergence of direct payments will continue.”

The council says that it will “bridge the gap”, thereby narrowing the difference between actual and average direct payments (paid on a per-hectare basis ) to farmers across the EU.

The council explained: “All member states with direct payments [on a per-hectare basis] below 90% of the EU average will close 50% of the gap”. The “gap” refers to the difference between current average direct payments and 90% of the EU average.

This will be done in “six equal steps” – starting in 2022.

Importantly, the council says that this will be “financed proportionately by all member states”.

Additionally, all member states will move to “at least €200/ha in 2022”. It also says that, by 2027, all states will have reached “at least €215/ha”.

Delving into the detail

News of the European Council’s plans for convergence of direct payments was unveiled as part of a wider budgetary announcement, in which the council presented its “agreed” budget for the MFF.

Interestingly, the data was presented in two different formats.

Also Read: Table: How much CAP money is earmarked for farmers over the next 7 years?

The two differing formats are depicted separately – showing the planned spend over the next seven years.

One approach refers to ‘2018 prices’, while the other refers to ‘current prices’. This is important because the corresponding figures are somewhat different in each approach.

In any event, the official council document states that “direct payments, under the CAP Strategic Plan Regulation, will not exceed €239.9 billion [using ‘2018 prices’]”.