The European Commission has today (Wednesday, August 4), adopted a measure allowing farmers to receive higher advances of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments.

This measure will support and increase the cash flow of farmers affected by the Covid-19 crisis and by the impact of adverse weather conditions across the EU.

According to the commission, some regions have been deeply affected by floods for instance.

Higher level of CAP advance payments

The measure will allow member states to pay income support and certain rural development schemes to farmers with a higher level of advances: Up to 70% (from 50%) of direct payments and 85% (from 75%) of rural development payments.

The safeguards to protect the EU budget apply, so the payments can be disbursed, once controls and checks have been finalised.

All EU expenditure under the CAP is subject to a declaration of assurance from the director-general for Agriculture and Rural Development.

This declaration states that:

  • The expenditure has been used for its intended purpose;
  • The expenditure has complied with the principles of sound financial management.

The commission, in the majority of cases, does not make payments directly to beneficiaries of the CAP. EU countries distribute payments to farmers through national or regional paying agencies.

Controls and checks

A rigorous system of checks ensures that funds are delivered only to the intended beneficiaries and in the correct amounts.

The commission states that EU countries must have adequate systems in place to protect against incorrect payments or fraud.

The EU also mandates the use of the single integrated administration and control system (IACS), including the land parcel identification system (LPIS), to check claims and track payments.


Under the new CAP, methods for direct payments will be restructured with the outgoing Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) scheme being replaced by new measures.

The Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS) is designed to redistribute CAP funds from larger farms to medium and smaller-sized farms, and is now proposed as a mandatory element within the direct payments measures, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

A mandatory redistribution amount worth 10% of the direct payments ceiling – worth €118 million in Ireland – has been set, but member states are allowed to take account of the redistributive effects of other elements of direct payments before deciding on CRISS.

Another key element of the CAP strategic plan for Ireland will be the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) under Pillar I of CAP.

Effectively replacing the outgoing Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), the department says this “builds on the similar support” provided by BPS.

Similar to its predecessor, applications for BISS will be submitted via an online system. BISS payments will be paid on payment entitlements for which an eligible hectare is held by the applicant.

Turning to allocation, DAFM says support is allocated based on the size of a holding (the number of eligible hectares) and the number and value of entitlements held.