European Commission proposes easing of EU agricultural policy in favor of farmers

On March 15, the European Commission presented proposals to revise the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, easing it in favor of protesting farmers. A statement on the European Commission’s website shared the specifics of the proposal.

Delivering on its commitment to ease administrative burden for EU farmers, the European Commission has today proposed to review certain provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), aiming to deliver simplifications while maintaining a strong, sustainable and competitive policy for EU agriculture and food,” the statement said.

These proposals are a direct response to hundreds of requests from farmers’ organizations and member states as part of the European Commission’s short-term efforts to simplify environmental requirements for land use and agricultural administrative rules. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU must adopt these proposals.

As noted, during the first year of implementation of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy for 2023-2027, European farmers faced difficulties in meeting certain standards adopted to achieve environmental and climate goals, the so-called “good agricultural and environmental conditions” (GAEC), which directly affect the amount of payments accrued to European farmers under the CAP.

The European Commission has proposed changing certain rules to meet these environmental conditions.

Farmers will still be required to preserve existing landscape features, such as plantings or individual trees, but they will no longer have to designate a minimum portion of agricultural land as “non-productive areas.”

Instead, the EU member states will offer farmers additional financial support under environmental schemes to leave a certain part of such land uncultivated on a voluntary basis to preserve the environment.

In this way, European farmers will be able to contribute to environmental preservation without losing financial income. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy expects to allocate 32 percent of its total budget for 2023–2027, or about 98 billion euros, to compensate for such voluntary environmental actions.

The Common Agricultural Policy grants farmers greater freedom to rotate the crops they use on productive land, taking into account the crop diversification strategy based on actual natural conditions (e.g., long-term drought or systematic seasonal rainfall).

If external factors, such as predator damage or invasive plant species, have affected certain areas or lands, Member States have greater freedom to introduce exemptions from environmental requirements.

National governments should limit the duration of such exemptions, validating them for the necessary period to resolve existing problems. National governments can also apply temporary exemptions from environmental rules in cases of extreme natural conditions that affect agricultural production.

Finally, the European Commission has proposed to exclude small farms with land plots of up to 10 hectares from the system of control and penalties for non-compliance with environmental requirements.

This measure should significantly ease the administrative burden on farmers, as such farms account for about 65 percent of the total number of farms benefiting from the Common Agricultural Policy.

On February 13, the European Commission officially extended the exemption for leaving some agricultural land fallow, which had been the cause of protests by farmers across the EU.

On March 6, the European Commission promised to present new legislative proposals to meet the demands of the protesting farmers.

Read all articles by Insight News Media on Google News, subscribe and follow.
Scroll to Top