Latest Common Agricultural Policy simplification proposals to introduce a fairer and more transparent penalty system

In line with the ongoing efforts to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Commissioner Hogan presented on Monday evening his latest proposals to the members of the Agriculture and Rural Development committee of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg. The focus of the newly announced simplification package is on the penalty system to take into account reasonable concerns by farmers in case of unintentional mistakes while also reducing the frequency of errors and therefore protecting public funds. Three complementary elements will result in a more proportionate and transparent penalty system: preliminary checks of aid applications, simplification of the system of administrative penalties, and last but not least a “yellow card’ system for first offenders with reduced penalties. Addressing the members of the EP committee, Commissioner Hogan said: “These simplification measures should have a direct effect on farmers, sending a clear message that our interest is not to catch farmers out as it were, but ensure that public money is well spent. Farmers, I know, fully support that goal. I believe that the preventive preliminary checks, the yellow card and the simplified penalty system should make the lives of farmers easier, and even more importantly, they should reduce significantly the number of error and consequently of cases where administrative penalties would need to be applied. These proposed changes should end the climate of fear for farmers, and are a fair and proportionate response to the concerns of smaller farmers in particular.” More information on the proposals and the previous simplification measures already implemented is available online.