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  • farming activities in all member states to be subject to same EU high standards
  • fairer funding across the EU and within member states
  • more options to attract new entrants and to help farmers deal with crises

The post-2020 EU farm policy must be smarter, simpler, fairer and more sustainable, but also well financed and truly common to continue deliver food security in the EU.

The Agriculture Committee adopted on Wednesday, by 32 votes in favour to five against, with six abstentions, a set of proposals on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for after 2020.

 

More flexibility but no re-nationalisation of the CAP

 

MEPs recognise that EU member states should be allowed to adapt EU farming policy to their needs, but reject any renationalisation of the CAP, which could, they say, distort competition in the single market.

 

The EU farm policy must rest on a common set of objectives, rules, tools and checks. Member states should design their national strategies on this basis and pick actions they feel best suited for them.

 

While the future EU farming policy should foster performance rather than compliance, farming activities in all member states should be subject to the same EU high standards and their breach should trigger similar penalties, MEPs say.

 

Modern policy with proper and fairly distributed funding

 

Making EU farms more sustainable and fully integrated into the circular economy, fostering innovation, research and smart practices should be among the new CAP’s top priorities. To this end, EU farm policy must be sufficiently funded, which means maintaining the CAP budget at its current level as a minimum, MEPs argue.

 

The Agriculture committee also wants:

 

  • direct payments to continue to be fully financed from the EU budget,
  • to cut red tape for the mandatory greening measures (needed to receive payments) and make them more result-oriented, simplify and better target voluntary ones,
  • new EU method to calculate direct payments by 2030 to phase out historical support criteria and support more those who deliver additional public goods,
  • more efficient ways to ensure that EU support goes to genuine farmers,
  • more money to help invigorate rural areas,
  • less money for larger farms with a mandatory EU ceiling,
  • fairer distribution of EU funds among member states, considering amounts received and differences e.g. in production costs or purchasing power,
  • to boost support for young and new farmers,
  • stronger support to farmers hit by income and price volatility,
  • to exclude most sensitive sectors from trade negotiations,
  • voluntary coupled support, which member states can now grant to particularly important ailing sectors, to be used also for strategically important production, e.g. protein crops, or to compensate the effects of free trade deals.

 

Quote

 

“We need ambitious targets for the future EU farming policy. We need to guarantee secure supply of high quality food for EU citizens, better support for young, new and family farmers, to increase our farmers’ competitiveness - also by making farming smarter and more innovative, and better equip them to face market fluctuations. But this can be achieved only if the CAP remains truly common and well financed in the future. This is what we will fight for in the next CAP reform”, said rapporteur Herbert Dorfmann (EPP, IT).

 

Next steps

 

The Agriculture Committee’s ideas should now be scrutinised by the Parliament as a whole during its 28 - 31 May plenary session in Strasbourg.