The European Commission is “offering flexibility” to EU member states that have not yet submitted their Strategic Plans for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2023-2027, it is understood.

The deadline for the submission of the plans was December 31. However, eight member states have not done so yet.

They are: Belgium (which is due to submit two plans, one for each of the regions that make up the country, which are governed separately in certain matters), Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovakia.

Some of these countries, including Germany, saw changes in government towards the end of last year.

An EU spokesperson said: “The commission expects the remaining member states to submit their plans as soon as possible to allow enough time in 2022 for their assessment and approval.

“Swift submission would guarantee the full implementation in 2023 of a more supportive CAP for the transition towards the sustainability, resilience and competitiveness of our agricultural and food system…and would provide farmers with all the necessary time and information to best prepare their production and investment decisions,” the spokesperson added.

It has not been confirmed if these member states have been given a secondary deadline by which to submit the plans.

The commission’s aim is to have all national strategic plans approved and adopted by the end of 2022, in time for the onset of the new CAP in 2023.

The commission’s appraisal of each national CAP plan will take place over six month. However, it is understood that this will be divided into two three-month periods.

From the point of receiving the draft plan, the commission will scrutinise it and, after three months, send an observation letter to the member state in question.

There will then be a ‘stop-the-clock’ period of an unspecified length of time. In this period, the plan will be revised by the member state in collaboration with the commission.

It will then be resubmitted and re-evaluated for a further three months and, if deemed fit, adopted by the commission.

Due to the variable length of the ‘stop-the-clock’ period, there is no particular date during this year by which any member states’ plans will be approved (though it will certainly be in the second half of the year).