Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission
The Commission proposal on direct payments to farmers after 2013(1) includes a new payment scheme for young farmers, additional to the basic payment scheme, as a way of better targeting CAP first pillar support to farmers whose income is more fragile. Through this proposal the Commission acknowledges that generational renewal in agriculture is an issue throughout the EU, where only a limited percentage of farmers are under 40 years of age (approximately 14 % in EU‑27, according to the most recent statistics).
The young farmers scheme is compulsory to the Member States. The proposal provides that the Member States fix the budget allocation to the scheme depending on their national peculiarities, provided that the amount does not exceed 2 % of their national ceilings for direct payments. The chosen percentage could be reviewed by the Member States by 1 August 2016.
The possibility to set additional eligibility criteria for young farmers at the Member States level is not included in the proposal, in line with the generalized implementation of CAP first pillar. The eligibility criteria set in Article 36(1) and 36(2) of the proposal would apply. The proposal of CAP reform foresees that Member States can design more targeted measures addressing young farmers' needs under their rural development programmes.
Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules for direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the common agricultural policy (COM(2011) 625 final/2).