EU Agricultural Ministers agree on common position on CAP
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
The Ministers of Agriculture of the EU member states have reached an agreement on their common approach to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It contains a measure for more environmental and climate protection, but in addition to that it comes with few improvements. The next step are negotiations with the EU Parliament.
For the next GAP period from 2021 to 2027 there will be an innovation, the so-called Eco-Schemes. These are environmental programs that the individual member states must set up to make their agriculture more sustainable. The member states have taken up this proposal of the EU Commission, but at the same time underlined that they want to implement this obligation as flexibly as possible and that strict guidelines from the EU Commission are not desired. The agreed position "gives the member states the necessary flexibility in the way they want to achieve environmental goals," says the Council communication.
This flexibility also applies to the allocation of funds under various green practices. According to the Council, 20 percent of the otherwise still area-based direct payments are earmarked for financing these eco-schemes. However, the member states have two years to test pilot programs before they are required to spend this 20 percent in an environmentally friendly manner.
As possible components of such environmental programmes, the Council Communication mentions "practices such as precision farming, agroforestry and organic farming", but member states would be free to design their own instruments based on their needs. For small farms, the controls associated with the environmental programs should be simplified.
Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner described the agreement as a "milestone for European agricultural policy". She said the agreement fulfilled the aspiration for a greener, fairer and simpler CAP.
The Council has not yet published detailed documents. Organic-market.info will report when the EU Parliament will finally determine its position on the CAP.