Hogan ‘rules out’ entitlement allocation changes post-2020

Entitlement allocations will not change under reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020, according to the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan.

Although the current CAP regime will see a number of changes over the coming years, for those who currently own or lease a certain number of entitlements, Commissioner Hogan said “no proposals” have been brought forward to alter existing allocations post-2020.

It should be noted that, in this context, ‘allocation’ refers to the number of entitlements rather than their value.

He also highlighted that there are no plans to implement new reference years for entitlement values. Existing values can, in a round-about way, be traced right back to ‘historical’ production levels in the original reference years – namely 2000, 2001 and 2002.

However, naturally, he said he could not speak for other member states.

“I don’t propose to make any [such] changes to entitlements. But, it will be up to the member states if they wish to adjust entitlements for a particular policy reason – such as to make space more available for young people to get involved in agriculture.

“But that will be a matter for the member state under the flexibility that we’re giving in the new delivery model for the CAP,” he said.

Nationwide, entitlements trading is in full swing – with auctioneers and entitlement traders reporting a steady demand for the leasing of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlements in 2018.

Although it is early in the (trading) season, it is anticipated that demand for leasing out ‘bare’ entitlements will largely outweigh demand for selling over the coming months.

In addition, a new online system for the transfer of entitlements is expected to be opened soon by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Reference year concerns

Speaking to AgriLand at the European People’s Party Group Bureau Meeting in Valencia, Spain, Commissioner Hogan offered some words of comfort to landowners that may be concerned that a new reference year could be on the cards.

Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, talks to AgriLand at the European People’s Party group conference in Spain

When asked if he anticipates any changes to reference years under looming CAP reform, he said:

No, I can rule that out. I won’t be making any proposal in respect of entitlements. However, I cannot speak for any other agriculture ministers in the European Union.

Under the new CAP delivery model, the European Commission has proposed to simplify the model with more flexibility around the implementation of the policy set to be given to individual member states.

However, Commissioner Hogan stressed that the policy itself will remain at EU level – with member states adhering to nine or 10 specific objectives.

“In order to get approval for their CAP strategic plan, members states will have to meet those objectives and demonstrate – in great detail – what they are going to do for the following seven years to help meet the EU-wide objectives,” he added.

The commissioner insisted that they will not do anything to create a situation where competition is distorted; or create a situation where the full functioning capability of the EU agricultural internal market is reduced.

He described these as “overriding objectives” of the reformed policy.

“Within the principal of subsidiarity and flexibility, we want to give more autonomy to member states to be able to remove themselves from the one-size-fits-all approach that we have at the moment.

“Removing themselves from a rules-based, compliance-based approach to a more formal results-based approach will create a lot more flexibility to recognise the difference between farming structures and farming systems in northern Europe and southern Europe, as well as in eastern Europe and western Europe,” he said.