Common Agricultural Policy reform gets final approval from MEPs
- New policy strengthens biodiversity and adheres to EU environmental and climate laws and commitments
- 10% of direct payments will go to small and medium-sized farms
- Permanent crisis reserve to be used when prices or markets are unstable
- Penalties for those who breach labour rules
On Tuesday, Parliament gave the green light to the new EU Farm Policy. This reformed version aims to be greener, fairer, more flexible and transparent.
During the negotiations on the legislative reform package, MEPs insisted that strengthening biodiversity and adhering to the EU’s environmental and climate laws and commitments will be key to the implementation of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), taking effect in 2023. While the Commission will assess whether national CAP strategic plans are in line with these commitments, farmers will have to comply with climate- and environmentally-friendly practices. Member states will be obliged to ensure that at least 35% of the rural development budget and at least 25% of direct payments will be dedicated to environmental and climate measures.
More support for small farms and young farmers
MEPs ensured that a minimum of 10% of direct payments will be used to support small and medium-sized farms and at least 3% of the CAP budget will go to young farmers. They also insisted that a crisis reserve with an annual budget of €450 million (in current prices) will be permanently ready to help farmers with price or market instability.
More transparency and better compliance with labour rules
As a result of Parliament’s pressure, EU labour rules in agricultural sectors will be better monitored and infringements penalised thanks to the cooperation between national labour inspectors and CAP paying agencies.
Information about final beneficiaries of EU support will be more transparent thanks to an EU data mining tool, which member states will get access to and which helps to identify the risk of fraud occurring by cross-checking information in public databases.
The “Strategic plans regulation” was adopted with 452 votes in favour, 178 against and 57 abstentions, the “Horizontal regulation” with 485 votes in favour, 142 against and 61 abstentions and the “Common market organisation regulation” with 487 in favour, 130 against and 71 abstentions.
Rapporteur for the “Strategic plans regulation” Peter Jahr (EPP, DE) said: “By approving the CAP reform, we guarantee planning security not only for member states, but above all for our European farmers. We have ensured that this CAP is more sustainable, transparent and predictable. The new delivery model will reduce the bureaucratic burden of agricultural policy on farmers. Our vote today has shown that we want to protect and promote family farms, the people who maintain and preserve our cultural landscape.”
Rapporteur for the “Horizontal regulation” Ulrike Müller (RE, DE) commented: “Today marks a historic day for the new CAP, a day when we advance towards a more environmentally ambitious, socially aware and performance-oriented agricultural policy. The new delivery model will ensure that the focus of the CAP will be more on achieving its targets and less on simply complying with the rules. We also made sure CAP payments are more transparent and that the EU’s financial interests are better protected. This CAP will really be a success.”
Rapporteur for the “Common market organisation regulation” Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR)said: “For the first time in more than 30 years, thanks to the common market organisation part of the CAP reform, the reforms approved today will mean more market regulation than deregulation. We can be proud of how far we have come, because the progress made is important for farmers, for the sector, and for consumers. The common market organisation is certainly a first step in the right direction.”
Current CAP rules were extended after 31 December 2020 and replaced by transitional rules until the end of 2022. Once approved by the Council, the new rules will be applicable from 1 January 2023.