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Parliamentary questions
17 May 2018
E-001650/2018
Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the Commission

Concerning the three proposals of the Honourable Member for developing the EU's sheep and goat sectors the following considerations should be taken into account:

1. The voluntary coupled support scheme (VCS) already offers Member States certain flexibility so that they can tailor their support portfolio to local needs. In particular, it allows them to target specific types of farming in the sheep/goat-meat sector, provided that they can demonstrate the particular difficulties undergone by the targeted populations. Member States have also a certain leeway when designing measures (e.g. choice of eligibility criteria and of the amount of the financial envelope per measure). Currently, around 41 million animals benefit from VCS in the sector (some EUR 486 million in total), making sheep and goat farming the third most supported sector under VCS.
2. Making the decoupled support for grassland conditional on farmers keeping a minimum density of ruminants per hectare would not be compatible with World Trade Organisation (WTO) green box rules. In the WTO context, particular attention is paid to the fact that direct payments should be decoupled from production to ensure that they do not include any direct or indirect production incentive.
3. Grazing on poor-quality land is not precluded under EU direct payments rules.

The recommendations of the Parliament's report on the future of the sheep and goat sector are examined with a view to the future Common Agricultural Policy.

Last updated: 17 May 2018Legal notice