Procedure : 2011/0282(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0361/2013

Texts tabled :

A7-0361/2013

Debates :

PV 20/11/2013 - 4
CRE 20/11/2013 - 4

Votes :

PV 20/11/2013 - 8.20

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2013)0491

REPORT     ***I
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5 November 2013
PE 474.053v02-00 A7-0361/2013

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

(COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – COM(2012)0553 – C7-0313/2012 – 2011/0282(COD))

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

Rapporteur: Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS ON THE LEGAL BASIS
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Budgets
 OPINION of the Committee on Budgetary Control
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

(COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – COM(2012)0553 – C7-0313/2012 – 2011/0282(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2011)0627) and the amendments to the proposal (COM(2012)0553),

–   having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 42, first paragraph, and Article 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0340/2011),

–   having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs on the proposed legal basis,

–   having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the reasoned opinion submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies, asserting that the draft legislative act does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity,

–   having regard to opinion 1/2012 of the European Court of Auditors of 8 March 2012(1),

–   having regard to the opinions of the European Economic and Social Committee of 25 April 2012 and 12 December 2012(2),

–   having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 4 May 2012(3),

–   having regard to its decision of 13 March 2013 on the opening of, and on the mandate for, interinstitutional negotiations on the proposal(4),

–   having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 7 October 2013 to approve Parliament's position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to Rules 55 and 37 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinions of the Committee on Development, the Committee on Budgets, the Committee on Budgetary Control, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Regional Development (A7-0361/2013),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Amendment  1

AMENDMENTS BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT(5)*

to the Commission proposal

---------------------------------------------------------

REGULATIONOF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of

on support for rural developmentby the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

(EAFRD)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 42 and 43(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission (6)1,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (7)2,

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions (8)3,

Having consulted the European Data Protection Supervisor (9)4

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure,

Whereas:

(1) The Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on "The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future" (10)5 ( ▌"the CAP towards 2020 Communication") set out potential challenges, objectives and orientations for the common agricultural policy ( ▌"the CAP") after 2013. In the light of the debate on that Communication, the CAP should be reformed with effect from 1 January 2014. That reform should cover all the main instruments of the CAP, including Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 ▌(11)6. In view of the scope of the reform, it is appropriate to repeal Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 and to replace it with a new text.

(2) A rural development policy should accompany and complement direct payments and market measures of the CAP and thus contribute to that policy's objectives as laid down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter "the Treaty TFEU"). A rural development policy should also integrate the major policy objectives spelled set out in the Communication from the Commission of 3 March 2010 "Europe 2020 A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" (12)7 (hereinafter "Europe 2020 Strategy") and be coherent with the general objectives for the economic and social cohesion policy as set out in the Treaty TFEU.

(3) Since the objective of this Regulation, namely rural development, cannot be ▌sufficiently achieved by the Member States, given the links between it and the other instruments of the CAP, the extent of disparities between the various rural areas and the limits on the financial resources of the Member States in an enlarged Union, and can therefore be better achieved at Union level through the multi-annual guarantee of Union finance and by concentrating on its priorities, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in Article 5(4) TEU, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

(5) To ensure the sustainable development of rural areas, it is necessary to focus on a limited number of core priorities relating to knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas, the competitiveness of all types of agriculture and farm viability, food chain organisation, including the processing and marketing of agricultural products, animal welfare and risk management in agriculture, restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry, resource efficiency and the shift towards a low carbon economy in the agricultural, food and forestry sectors, and promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and the economic development of rural areas. In doing so account must be taken of the diversity of situations that affect rural areas with different characteristics or different categories of potential beneficiaries and the cross-cutting objectives of innovation, environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation action should relate to both limiting emissions in agriculture and forestry from key activities such as livestock production, fertilizer use and to preserving the carbon sinks and enhancing carbon sequestration with regard to land use, land use change and the forestry sector. The Union priority for rural development relating to knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas should apply horizontally in relation to the other Union priorities for rural development.

(6) The Union's priorities for rural development should be pursued in the framework of sustainable development and the Union's promotion of the aim of protecting and improving the environment as set out in Article11 TFEU taking into account the polluter pays principle. The Member States should, provide information on the support for climate change objectives in line with the ambition to devote at least 20 % of the Union budget to this end ▌ using a methodology adopted by the Commission.

(7) The activities of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development ( ▌"the EAFRD") and the operations to which it contributes should be consistent and compatible with support from other instruments of the CAP. ▌

(8) In order to ensure the immediate start and efficient implementation of rural development programmes, support from the EAFRD should be based on the existence of sound administrative framework conditions. Member States should therefore assess the applicability and fulfilment of certain ex ante conditionalities. Each Member State should prepare either a national rural development programme for its entire territory or a set of regional programmes or both a national programme and a set of regional programmes. Each programme should identify a strategy for meeting targets in relation to the Union priorities for rural development and a selection of measures. Programming should comply with Union priorities for rural development, whilst at the same time adapting to national contexts and complementing the other Union policies, in particular the agricultural market policy, cohesion policy and the common fisheries policy. Member States which opt for a set of regional programmes should be able to also prepare a national framework, without a separate budgetary allocation, in order to facilitate co-ordination among the regions in addressing nation-wide challenges.

(9) Member States should be able to include in their rural development programmes thematic sub-programmes to address specific needs in areas of particular importance to them. Thematic sub-programmes should concern, among others, young farmers, small farms, mountain areas▌, the creation of short supply chains, women in rural areas and climate change mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity. Thematic sub-programmes should also be used to provide for the possibility to address restructuring of agricultural sectors which have a strong impact on the development of rural areas. As a means of increasing the efficient intervention of certain thematic sub-programmes Member States should be allowed to provide for higher support rates for certain operations covered by them.

(10)     Rural development programmes should identify the needs of the area covered and describe a coherent strategy to meet them in the light of the Union priorities for rural development. This strategy should be based on the setting of targets. The links between the needs identified, the targets set and the choice of measures selected to meet them should be established. Rural development programmes should also contain all the information required to assess their conformity with the requirements of this Regulation.

(11)     Targets are to be established in rural development programmes against a common set of target indicators for all Member States. In order to facilitate this exercise the areas covered by these indicators should be defined, in line with the Union priorities for rural development. Given the horizontal application of the Union priority for rural development relating to knowledge transfer in agriculture and forestry, interventions under this priority are to be considered as instrumental to the target indicators defined for the remaining Union priorities.

(12)     It is necessary to establish certain rules for programming and revising rural development programmes. A simplified procedure should be provided for revisions not affecting the strategy of the programmes or the respective Union financial contributions.

(14)     The evolution and specialisation of agriculture and forestry and the particular challenges faced by micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises ( ▌"SMEs") in rural areas require an appropriate level of technical and economic training as well as an increased capacity to access and exchange knowledge and information including in the form of diffusion of best agricultural and forestry production practices. Knowledge transfer and information actions should take not only the form of traditional training courses but be adapted to the needs of rural actors. Workshops, coaching, demonstration activities, information actions but also short-term farm exchange or visit schemes should therefore also be supported. Knowledge and information acquired should enable farmers, forest holders, persons engaged in the food sector and rural SMEs to enhance in particular their competitiveness and resource efficiency and improve their environmental performance while at the same time contributing to the sustainability of the rural economy. When providing support to SMEs, Member States may give priority to SMEs linked to the agriculture and forestry sectors. In order to ensure that knowledge transfer and information actions are effective in delivering these results it should be required that the providers of knowledge transfer services have all the appropriate capabilities.

(16)     Farm advisory services help farmers, young farmers, forest holders, other land managers and SMEs in rural areas to improve the sustainable management and overall performance of their holding or business. Therefore both the setting up of such services and the use of advice by farmers, young farmers, forest holders, other land managers and SMEs should be encouraged. In order to enhance the quality and effectiveness of the advice offered, provision should be made for the minimum qualifications and regular training of advisors. Farm advisory services, as provided for in Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) No HR/2012 ▌(13)8 should help farmers assess the performance of their agricultural holding and identify the necessary improvements as regards the statutory management requirements, good agricultural and environmental conditions, agricultural practices beneficial to the climate and the environment set out in Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) No DP/2012 , measures at farm level provided for in the rural development programmes aiming at farm modernisation, competitiveness building, sectoral integration, innovation, market orientation as well as the promotion of entrepreneurship. It should also help farmers to identify improvements regarding requirements at the level of beneficiaries defined for implementing Article 11 (3) of Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (14)9 as well as requirements at the level of beneficiaries for implementing Article 55 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council1(15)0 and Article 14 of Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council1(16)1, in particular in relation to the compliance with the general principles of integrated pest management. Where relevant, advice should also cover occupational or safety standards linked to the farm as well as specific advice for farmers setting-up for the first time. Advice may also cover the setting-up of young farmers, the sustainable development of the economic activities of the holding and local processing and marketing issues, linked to the economic, agricultural and environmental performance of the holding or enterprise. Specific advice may also be provided on climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity, the protection of water, the development of short supply chains, organic farming and health aspects of animal husbandry. When providing support to SMEs, Member States may give priority to micro-enterprises and SMEs linked to the agriculture and forestry sectors. Farm management and farm relief services should help farmers improve and facilitate management of their holding.

(18)     Union or national quality schemes, including farm certification schemes for agricultural products and food, provide consumers with assurances on the quality and characteristics of the product or the production process used as a result of the participation of farmers in such schemes, achieve added value for the products concerned and enhance their market opportunities. Farmers and groups of farmers should therefore be encouraged to participate in those schemes. In order to ensure the effective use of EAFRD resources, support should be limited to active farmers as defined in Article 9 of Regulation No /xxxx (DP). Given that it is at the moment of entering such schemes and in the early years of their participation that additional costs and obligations imposed on farmers as a result of their participation are not fully remunerated by the market, support should be provided for new participation and should cover a period of no more than five years. Given the special characteristics of cotton as a farm product, quality schemes for cotton should also be covered. Support should also be made available for information and promotion activities concerning products covered by the quality and certification schemes receiving support under this Regulation.

(19)     In order to improve the economic and environmental performance of agricultural holdings and rural enterprises, to improve the efficiency of the agricultural products marketing and processing sector, including the setting up of small scale processing and marketing facilities in the context of short supply chains and local markets, to provide infrastructure needed for the development of agriculture and forestry and to support non-remunerative investments necessary to achieve environmental aims, support should be provided for physical investments contributing to these aims. During the 2007-2013 programming period a variety of measures covered different areas of intervention. In the interest of simplification, but also of allowing beneficiaries to design and realise integrated projects with increased added value, a single measure should cover most types of physical investments. Member States should aim the support at farms ▌eligible for aid for investments related to supporting farm viability based on the results of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ("SWOT") analysis as means to better target the aid. In order to facilitate the setting-up of young farmers for the first time an additional period of eligibility for investments to comply with Union standards can be granted. In order to foster the implementation of new Union standards, investments related to compliance with those standards shall be eligible for an additional period after they have become mandatory for the agricultural holding.

(20)     The agricultural sector is subject, more than other sectors, to damage to its productive potential caused by natural disasters, adverse climatic events and catastrophic events. In order to help farm viability and competitiveness in the face of such disasters or events, support should be provided for helping farmers restore agricultural potential which has been damaged. Member States should also ensure that no overcompensation of damages occurs as a result of the combination of Union (in particular the risk management measure), national and private compensation schemes. ▌

(21)     The creation and development of new economic activity in the form of new farms, diversification into non-agricultural activities including providing services to agriculture and forestry; activities related to health care, social integration and tourist activities is essential for the development ▌of rural areas. Diversification into non-agricultural activities may also address sustainable management of cynegetic resources. A farm and business development measure should facilitate the initial establishment of young farmers and the structural adjustment of their agricultural holding after initial setting -up. Furthermore, diversification of farmers into non-agricultural activities and the setting up and development of non-agricultural SMEs in rural areas should be promoted. That measure should also encourage entrepreneurship of women in rural areas. The development of small farms, which are potentially economically viable should also be encouraged. In order to ensure the viability of new economic activities supported under that measure, support should be made conditional on the submission of a business plan. Support for a business start up should cover only the initial period of the life of a business and should not become an operating aid. Therefore, where Member States opt to grant aid in instalments, they ▌should be for a period of no more than five years. In addition, in order to encourage the restructuring of the agricultural sector, support, in the form of annual or one-off payments, should be provided for farmers eligible for the small farmers scheme established by Title V of Regulation (EU) No DP/2013 who commit to transfer their entire holding and the corresponding payment entitlements to another farmer.

In order to address problems of young farmers related to access to land Member States could also offer this support in combination with other forms of support, for example, through the use of financial instruments.

(22)     SMEs are the backbone of the ▌rural economy of the Union▌. Farm and non-agricultural business development should be aimed at employment promotion and the setting up of quality jobs in rural areas, maintenance of already existing jobs, reduction of seasonality fluctuations in employment, development of non-agricultural sectors outside agriculture and agricultural and food processing while fostering at the same time business integration and local inter-sectoral links. Projects integrating at the same time agriculture, rural tourism through promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism in rural areas, natural and cultural heritage should be encouraged as well as renewable energy investments.

(24)     The development of local infrastructure and local basic services in rural areas, including leisure and culture services, the renewal of villages and activities aimed at the restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage of villages and rural landscapes is an essential element of any effort to realise the growth potential and promote the sustainability of rural areas. Support should therefore be granted to operations with that aim, including the access to Information and Communication Technologies and the development of fast and ultra-fast broadband. In line with those objectives, development of services and infrastructure leading to social inclusion and reversing trends of social and economic decline and depopulation of rural areas should be encouraged. In order to achieve the maximum effectiveness for such support, covered operations should be implemented in accordance with plans for the development of municipalities and their basic services, where such plans exist, elaborated by one or more rural communes. In order to create synergies and improve co-operation, operations should also, where relevant, promote rural-urban links. Member States may give priority to investments by community-led local development partnerships, and to projects managed by local community organisations. (25)  Forestry is an integral part of rural development and support for sustainable and climate friendly land use should encompass forest area development and sustainable management of forests. During the 2007-2013 programming period a variety of measures covered different types of support for forestry investments and management. In the interest of simplification but also of allowing beneficiaries to design and realise integrated projects with increased added value, a single measure should cover all types of support for forestry investments and management. This measure should cover the extension and improvement of forest resources through afforestation of land and creation of agroforestry systems combining extensive agriculture with forestry systems, restoration of forests damaged by fire or other natural disasters and relevant prevention measures, investments in ▌ forestry technologies and in the processing, mobilising and marketing of forest products aimed at improving the economic and environmental performance of forest holders and non remunerative investments which improve ecosystem and climate resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems. Support should avoid distorting competition and it should be market neutral. As a result, limitations ▌relating to the size and legal status of beneficiaries should be imposed. Preventive actions against fires should be in areas classified by Member States as medium or high fire risk. All preventive actions should be part of a forest protection plan. The occurrence of a natural disaster in the case of action for the restoration of damaged forest potential should be subject to the formal recognition by a scientific public organisation.

The forestry measure should be adopted in the light of undertakings given by the Union and the Member States at international level, and be based on Member States’ national or sub-national forest plans or equivalent instruments which should take into account the commitments made in the Ministerial Conferences on the Protection of Forests in Europe. It should contribute to the implementation of the Union Forestry Strategy ▌1(17)2.

(27)     Producer groups and organisations help farmers to face jointly the challenges posed by increased competition and consolidation of downstream markets in relation to the marketing of their products including in local markets. The setting up of producer groups and organisations should therefore be encouraged. In order to ensure the best use of limited financial resources only producer groups and organisations that qualify as SMEs should benefit from support. Member States may give priority to producer groups and organisations of quality products covered by Article 17. In order to ensure that the producer group or organisation becomes a viable entity, a business plan should be submitted to the Member States, as a condition for the recognition of a producer group or organisation. In order to avoid providing operating aid and to maintain the incentive role of support, its maximum duration should be limited to five years from the date on which the producer group or organisation was recognised on the basis of its business plan.

(28)     Agri-environment-climate payments should continue to play a prominent role in supporting the sustainable development of rural areas and in responding to society's increasing demands for environmental services. They should further encourage farmers and other land managers to serve society as a whole by introducing or continuing to apply agricultural practices contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and compatible with the protection and improvement of the environment, the landscape and its features, natural resources, the soil and genetic diversity. In that context the conservation of genetic resources in agriculture and the additional needs of farming systems that are of high nature value should be given specific attention. Payments should contribute to covering additional costs and income foregone resulting from the commitments undertaken and should only cover commitments going beyond relevant mandatory standards and requirements, in accordance with the "polluter pays ▌ principle". Member States should also ensure that payments to farmers do not lead to double funding under this Regulation and Regulation No /xxxx (DP). In many situations the synergies resulting from commitments undertaken jointly by a group of farmers multiply the environmental and climate benefit. However, joint action brings additional transaction costs which should be compensated adequately. In addition, in order to ensure that farmers and other land managers are in a position to correctly implement the commitments they have undertaken, Member States should endeavour to provide them with the required skills and knowledge.

Member States should maintain the level of efforts made during the 2007-2013 programming period and have to spend a minimum of 30 ▌% of the total contribution from the EAFRD to each rural development programme for climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity, resource efficiency and soil, water and land management, through the agri-environment-climate, organic farming and payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints measures, forestry measures, payments for Natura 2000 areas and climate and environment related investment support contributing to environment and climate.

(30)     Payments for the conversion to or maintenance of organic farming should encourage farmers to participate in such schemes thus answering the increasing demand of society for the use of environmentally friendly farm practices and for high standards of animal welfare. In order to increase synergy in biodiversity benefits delivered by the measure, collective contracts or co-operation between farmers should be encouraged to cover larger adjacent areas. In order to avoid large-scale reversion of farmers to conventional farming, both conversion and maintenance measures should be supported. Payments should contribute to covering additional costs incurred and income foregone as a result of the commitment and should cover only commitments going beyond relevant mandatory standards and requirements. Member States should also ensure that payments to farmers do not lead to double funding under this Regulation and Regulation No /xxxx (DP). In order to ensure the effective use of EAFRD resources, support should be limited to active farmers as defined in Article 9 of Regulation No /xxxx (DP).

(31)     Support should continue to be granted to farmers and forest holders to help address specific disadvantages in the areas concerned resulting from the implementation of Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council ▌1(18)3 and Council Directive 92/43/EEC ▌1(19)4 in order to contribute to the effective management of Natura 2000 sites while support should also be made available to farmers to help address disadvantages in river basin areas resulting from the implementation of Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council ▌1(20)5. Support should be linked to specific requirements described in the rural development programme that go beyond relevant mandatory standards and requirements. Member States should also ensure that payments to farmers do not lead to double funding under this Regulation and Regulation No /xxxx (DP). Furthermore, the specific needs of Natura 2000 areas should be taken into account by Member States in the overall design of their rural development programmes.

(32)     Payments to farmers in mountain areas or in other areas facing natural or other specific constraints should contribute, by encouraging continued use of agricultural land to maintaining the countryside as well as to maintaining and promoting sustainable farming systems. In order to ensure the efficiency of such support, payments should compensate farmers for income foregone and additional costs linked to the disadvantage of the area concerned. In order to ensure the effective use of EAFRD resources, support should be limited to active farmers as defined in Article 9 of Regulation No /xxxx (DP).

(33)     In order to ensure efficient use of Union funds and equal treatment for farmers across the Union, mountain areas and areas facing natural or other specific constraints should be defined in accordance with objective criteria. In the case of areas facing natural constraints these should be bio-physical criteria underpinned by robust scientific evidence. Transitional arrangements should be adopted in order to facilitate the phasing -out of payments in areas that will no longer be considered as areas facing natural constraints as a result of the application of these criteria.

(34)     Farmers should continue to be encouraged to adopt high standards of animal welfare by providing ▌ support for farmers who undertake to adopt standards of animal husbandry, which go beyond the relevant mandatory standards. In order to ensure the effective use of EAFRD resources, support should be limited to active farmers as defined in Article 9 of Regulation No /xxxx (DP).

(35)     Payments should continue to be granted to forest holders who provide environmental or climate friendly forest conservation services by undertaking commitments to enhance biodiversity, preserve high-value forest ecosystems, improve their climate change mitigation and adaptation potential, and reinforce the protective value of forests with respect to soil erosion, ▌ maintenance of water resources and ▌ natural hazards. In that context, conservation and promotion of forest genetic resources should be given specific attention. Payments should be granted for forest environmental commitments going beyond relevant mandatory standards established by national legislation. ▌

(36)     During the 2007-2013 programming period the only ▌ type of co-operation which was explicitly supported under rural development policy was co-operation for the development of new products, processes and technologies in the agriculture and food sector and the forestry sector. Support for that type of co-operation is still necessary but should be adapted in order to better ▌ meet the requirements of the knowledge economy. In that context, there should be the possibility ▌ for projects by a single operator to be financed under that measure, on condition that the results obtained are disseminated, thus achieving the purpose of diffusion of new practices, processes or products. In addition, it has become clear that supporting a much broader range of types of co-operation, with a wider range of beneficiaries, from smaller operators to larger ones, can contribute to achieving the objectives of rural development policy by helping operators in rural areas ▌ overcome the economic, environmental and other disadvantages of fragmentation. Therefore, that measure should be widened. Support for small operators to organise joint work processes and share facilities and resources should help them to be economically viable despite their small scale. Support for horizontal and vertical co-operation among actors in the supply chain, as well as for promotion activities in a local context, should catalyse the economically rational development of short supply chains, local markets and local food chains. Support for collective approaches to environmental projects and practices should help to provide greater and more consistent environmental and climate benefits than can be delivered by individual operators acting without reference to others (for example, through practices applied on larger unbroken areas of land).

Support in those various areas should be provided in various forms. Clusters and networks are particularly relevant to the sharing of expertise as well as the development of new and specialised expertise, services and products. Pilot projects are important tools for testing the commercial applicability of technologies, techniques and practices in different contexts, and adapting them where necessary. Operational groups are a pivotal element of the European Innovation Partnership ( ▌"EIP") for agricultural productivity and sustainability. Another important tool lies in local development strategies operating outside the framework of LEADER local development – between public and private actors from rural and urban areas. Unlike within the LEADER approach, such partnerships and strategies could be limited to one sector and / or to relatively specific development aims, including those mentioned above. Member States may give priority to co-operation among entities involving primary producers. Inter-branch organisations should also be eligible for support under this measure. It should be limited to seven years except for collective environmental and climate action in duly justified cases.

(37)     Nowadays, farmers are exposed ▌ to increasing economic and environmental risks as a consequence of climate change and increased price volatility. In that context, effective management of risks has an increased importance for farmers. For that reason, a risk management measure should be set up to assist farmers in addressing the most common risks faced by them. That measure should therefore support farmers in covering the premiums they pay for crop, animal and plant insurance as well as the setting up of mutual funds and the compensation paid by such funds to farmers for losses suffered as a result of adverse climatic events, by the outbreak of animal or plant diseases, pest infestation or environmental incidents. It should also cover an income stabilisation tool in the form of a mutual fund to support farmers facing a severe drop in their income. In order to ensure that there is equal treatment among farmers across the Union, that competition is not distorted and that the international obligations of the Union are respected, specific conditions should be provided for the granting of support under these measures. In order to ensure the effective use of EAFRD resources, support should be limited to active farmers as defined in Article 9 of Regulation No /xxxx (DP).

(38)     The LEADER approach for local development has, over a number of years, proven its effectiveness in promoting the development of rural areas by fully taking into account the multi-sectoral needs for endogenous rural development through its bottom-up approach. LEADER should therefore be continued in the future and its application should remain compulsory for all rural development programmes.

Support to LEADER local development from the EAFRD should also cover inter-territorial co-operation projects among territories and groups within a Member State or transnational co-operation projects between territories and groups in several Member States or with third countries.

(41)     Investments are common to many of the rural development measures under this Regulation and may relate to operations of a very diverse nature. In order to ensure clarity in the implementation of those operations certain common rules for all investments should be laid down. Those common rules should define the types of expenditure that may be considered as investment expenditure and ensure that only such investments that create new value in agriculture receive support. In order to facilitate the realisation of investment projects it should be possible for Member States to pay advances. To ensure the effectiveness, fairness and sustainable impact of EAFRD assistance, rules should be laid down to ensure that investments related to operations are durable and that EAFRD support is not used to distort competition.

(41a)   The EAFRD may support investments in irrigation to provide economic and environmental benefits, but it should be ensured that the irrigation concerned is sustainable. To this end, in every case, support should be granted only if a river basin management plan is in place in the area concerned as required by Directive 2000/60/EC, and if water metering is already in place at the level of the investment or is put in place as part of the investment. Investments in improvements to existing irrigation infrastructure or equipment should lead to a minimum gain in water efficiency, expressed as a potential water saving. If the water body affected by the investment is under stress for reasons related to water quantity according to the analytical framework established by Directive 2000/60/EC, half of this gain in water efficiency should be translated into a real reduction in water use at the level of the supported investment, in order to reduce the stress on the water body concerned. Certain cases should be set out in which requirements of potential or effective water savings cannot apply or are not necessary, including with regard to investments in recycling or re-using water. In addition to supporting investments in improvements to existing equipment, there should be provision for the EAFRD to support investments in new irrigation subject to the findings of an environmental analysis. However, with exceptions, support should not be granted for new irrigation where the affected water body is already under stress, as there is a very high risk that granting support in such circumstances would worsen existing environmental problems.

(42)     Certain area related measures under this Regulation involve the undertaking on the part of beneficiaries of commitments extending over at least five years. During that period changes may occur to the situation of either the holding or of the beneficiary. Rules should therefore be laid down in order to determine the course to be followed in those cases.

(43)     Certain measures under this Regulation provide as a condition for granting support that beneficiaries undertake commitments going beyond a relevant baseline defined in terms of mandatory standards or requirements. In view of possible changes in legislation during the period of the commitments that have as a result the modification of the baseline, provision should be made for the revision of the contracts concerned in order to ensure continued respect of this condition.

(44)     In order to ensure that financial resources for rural development are used in the best possible way and to target measures under rural development programmes in accordance with the Union priorities for rural development but also to guarantee equal treatment of applicants, Member States should establish selection criteria for the selection of projects. Exception to this rule should be made only for ▌payments under agri-environmental climate, organic farming, Natura 2000 and Water Framework Directive, areas facing natural or other specific constraints, animal welfare , forest-environmental and climate services and risk management related measures. In the application of selection criteria account should be taken of the principle of proportionality in relation to the size of the operation .

(45)     The EAFRD should support, through technical assistance, actions relating to the implementation of rural development programmes, including costs related to the protection of symbols and abbreviations relating to Union quality schemes for participation in which support may be granted under this Regulation and costs of the Member States for the delimitation of areas facing natural constraints.▌

(46)     The networking of national networks, organisations and administrations involved in the various stages of programme implementation, organised in the context of the European network for rural development, has proven that it can play a very important role in improving the quality of rural development programmes by increasing the involvement of stakeholders in the governance of rural development as well as in informing the broader public of its benefits. It should, therefore, be financed as part of the technical assistance at Union level. To take account of the specific needs of evaluation, a European evaluation capacity for rural development should be set up as part of the European network for rural development in order to bring together all actors involved to facilitate the exchange of expertise in the field.

(46a)   The EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability should contribute to achieve the EU 2020 objectives of a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is important that it brings together all relevant actors at Union, national and regional levels, bringing new ideas to Member States on how to streamline, simplify and better coordinate existing instruments and initiatives and complement them with new actions where necessary.

(47)     In order to contribute to the achievement of the aims of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability a EIP network should be set up in order to network operational groups, advisory services and researchers involved in the implementation of actions targeting innovation in agriculture. It should be financed as part of technical assistance at Union level.

(49)     Member States should reserve a portion of the total amount of each rural development programme devoted to technical assistance to finance the setting up and operation of a national rural network bringing together organisations and administrations involved in rural development, including the partnership, with the aim of increasing their involvement in the implementation of the programme and improve the quality of rural development programmes. National rural networks should prepare and implement an action plan.

(51)     Rural development programmes should provide for innovative actions promoting a resource-efficient, productive and low-emission agricultural sector, with the support of the EIP foragricultural productivity and sustainability. The EIP should aim to promote a faster and wider transposition of innovative solutions into practice. The EIP should create added value by enhancing the uptake and effectiveness of innovation-related instruments and enhancing synergies between them. The EIP should fill gaps by better linking research and practical farming.

(52)     Implementation of innovative projects in the context of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability should be undertaken by operational groups bringing together farmers, forest managers, rural communities, researchers, NGOs advisors, businesses and other actors concerned by innovation in the agricultural sector. In order to ensure that results of such projects profit to the sector as a whole, their results in the field of innovation and knowledge exchanges within the Union and with third countries should be disseminated.

(53)     Provision should be made for the determination of the total amount of Union support for rural development under this Regulation for the period from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020, ▌ in accordance with the Multi-annual Financial Framework for the period 2014 to 2020 and the Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure 1(21)6 for the same period. The appropriations available should be indexed on a flat-rate basis for programming.

(54)     In order to facilitate the management of EAFRD funds, a single contribution rate of the EAFRD to rural development programming should be set in relation to public expenditure in the Member States. In order to take account of the particular importance or nature of certain types of operations, specific contribution rates should be set in relation to them. In order to mitigate the specific constraints resulting from level of development, remoteness and insularity an appropriate contribution rate of the EAFRD should be set for less-developed regions, outermost regions referred to in the TFEU and the smaller Aegean islands, as well as transition regions.

(56)     Member States should take all the necessary steps to to ensure that their rural development measures are verifiable and controllable and put in place adequate provisions. To that end, the Managing Authority and Paying Agency should provide an ex ante assessment and undertake to assess measures throughout the implementation of the programme. Measures not respecting this condition should be adjusted.

(57)     The Commission and Member States should take all ▌steps necessary to ensure the sound management of rural development programmes. In this context the Commission should undertake adequate controls and the Member States should take measures to the guarantee sound functioning of their management system.

(58)     A single Managing Authority should be responsible for the management and implementation of each rural development programme. Its duties should be specified in this Regulation. The Managing Authority should be able to delegate part of its duties whilst at the same time retaining ▌ responsibility for the efficiency and correctness of management. Where a rural development programme contains thematic sub-programmes the Managing Authority should be able to designate another body to carry out the management and implementation of that sub-programme in relation to the financial allocations that have been identified for it in the programme whilst ensuring sound financial management of those sub-programmes. Where a Member State has more than one programme to manage, a coordination body can be set up to ensure consistency.

(59)     Each rural development programme should be subject to monitoring in order to regularly follow the implementation of the programme and progress towards the established targets of the programme. Demonstrating and improving the effectiveness and impact of actions under the EAFRD also depends on appropriate evaluation during the preparation and implementation of a programme and its completion. A monitoring and evaluation system should therefore be set up jointly by the Commission and the Member States with the purpose of demonstrating the progress and assessing the impact and efficiency of rural development policy implementation.

(60)     In order to ensure that information can be aggregated at Union level a set of common indicators should form part of that system. Key information on the implementation of rural development programmes should be recorded and maintained electronically as a means to facilitate data aggregation. Beneficiaries should therefore be required to provide the minimum necessary information that is needed for monitoring and evaluation.

(61)     The responsibility for monitoring ▌ the programme should be shared between the Managing Authority and a Monitoring Committee set up for that purpose. The Monitoring Committee should have as its task the monitoring of the effectiveness of the implementation of the programme. To that end, its responsibilities should be specified.

(62)     Monitoring of the programme should involve the drawing up of an annual implementation report ▌to be sent to the Commission.

(63)     Each rural development programme should be subject to evaluation in order to improve its quality and demonstrate its achievements.

(64)     Articles 107, 108 and 109 TFEU should apply to the support for the rural development measures under this Regulation. Nevertheless, it should be established that, given the specificity of the agricultural sector, the rural development measures concerning operations falling within the scope of Article 42 TFEU, that are carried out under and in conformity with this Regulation, as well as payments made by the Member States, intended to provide additional national financing for rural development operations for which Union support is granted and which fall within the scope of Article 42 TFEU should be excluded from the application of Articles 107, 108 and 109 TFEU.

(65)     Moreover, with a view to ensuring consistency with the rural development measures eligible for Union support and in order to simplify procedures, payments made by the Member States, intended to provide additional national financing for rural development operations for which Union support is granted and which fall within the scope of Article 42 TFEU, should be included in the rural development programme for assessment and approval in accordance with the provisions of this Regulation. ▌ In order to ensure that additional national financing which is not authorised by the Commission is not implemented, the Member State concerned should not put its proposed additional financing for rural development into effect until it has been approved. Payments made by Member States intended to provide additional national financing for rural development operations for which Union support is granted and which fall outside the scope of Article 42 TFEU should be notified to the Commission pursuant to Article 108(3) TFEU, unless they fall under a regulation, adopted pursuant to Council Regulation 994/98 1(22)7, and may not be put into effect until this procedure has resulted in a final approval by the Commission.

(66)     An electronic information system should be established to provide an efficient and secure exchange of data of common interest as well as to record, maintain and manage key information and report on monitoring and evaluation.

(67)     Union legislation concerning the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, in particular Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council ▌1(23)8 and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council1(24)9 are applicable.2(25)0

(68)     In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission, in relation to   the content of rural development programmes, the approval of programmes and of modifications thereto, the procedures and timetables for approval of programmes, the procedures and timetables for the approval of programme and national framework modifications, including their entry in to force and frequency of submission, specific conditions for the implementation of rural development measures, the rules on payment modalities for participants' costs for knowledge transfer and information actions, the structure and operation of networks set ▌ up by this Regulation, information and publicity requirements, the adoption of the monitoring and evaluation system, the rules for the operation of the information system ▌. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council ▌2(26)1. ▌

(70)     In order to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of this Regulation, the power to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 290 TFEU should be delegated to the Commission in respect of: the conditions under which a legal person is considered a young farmer and the setting of a period of grace for the acquisition of skills, the duration and content of farm and forest exchange schemes and farm and forest visits; the specific Union schemes to be covered by Article 17(1)(a) and the characteristics of groups of producers and types of actions that may receive support under that paragraph, as well as the setting of conditions to prevent distortion of competition, discrimination of products and the exclusion of commercial brands from support; the minimum content of business plans and the criteria to be used by Member States for setting the thresholds referred to in Article 20(4); the definition and the minimum environmental requirements for afforestation and the creation of woodland; the conditions applicable to agri-environment-climate commitments to extensify livestock farming, rear local breeds in danger of being lost to farming or preserve plant genetic resources under threat of genetic erosion, as well as the definition of eligible operations for the conservation and for the sustainable use and development of genetic resources; the calculation method to be used in order to avoid double funding of the practices referred to in Art. 29 of Regulation (EU) No DP/2013 for the agri-environment-climate, organic farming, Natura 2000 and Water Framework Directive measures; the definition of the areas in which animal welfare commitments shall provide upgraded standards of production methods; the specification of the characteristics of pilot projects, clusters, networks, short supply chains and local markets that will be eligible for support under the co-operation measure, as well as concerning the conditions for granting aid to the types of operation listed under that measure; the minimum and maximum duration of commercial loans to mutual funds; the conditions under which costs related to leasing contracts or second hand equipment may be considered as eligible investment expenditure, as well as the definition of types of renewable energy infrastructure eligible for investment ; the conditions applicable to conversion or adjustment of commitments under the measures referred to in Articles 29, 30, 34 and 35, as well as the definition of other situations in which reimboursement of the aid shall not be required; the conditions under which support approved by the Commission under Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 may be integrated into support provided for under this Regulation, including for technical assistance and for the ex-post evaluations, in order to facilitate a smooth transition from the system established by Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 to the system established by this Regulation. In order to take account of the Treaty of Accession of the Republic of Croatia those acts should also cover, for Croatia, the transition from support for rural development under Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/20062(27)2, where necessary. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and to the Council.

(70a)   The new support scheme provided for by this Regulation replaces the support scheme set up by Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005. ▌Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 should therefore be repealed

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

TITLE I

Objectives and Strategy ▌

Chapter I

Scope and Definitions ▌

Article 1

Scope

1.  This Regulation ▌lays down the general rules governing Union support for rural development, financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development ( ▌"the EAFRD"), established by Regulation (EU) No HR/2012; ▌ defines the objectives to which rural development policy is to contribute and the relevant Union priorities for rural development; ▌ outlines the strategic context for rural development policy; ▌ defines the measures of rural development policy; ▌ lays down rules on programming, networking, management, monitoring and evaluation on the basis of responsibilities shared between the Member States and the Commission and lays down the rules to ensure coordination of the EAFRD with other Union instruments.

▌2.    This Regulation complements the provisions of Part Two of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012].

Article 2

Definitions

1.  For the purposes of this Regulation, the definitions of "operation", "beneficiary", "community-led local development strategy", "public expenditure","micro, small and medium size enterprises", "completed operation", "less developed regions", "transition regions" and "financial instruments" as laid down in Article 2 of Regulation (EU) No (CSF/2012)2(28)3 of the European Parliament and the Council2(29)4 shall apply.

In addition, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) "programming"means the process of organisation, decision making and allocating the financial resources in several stages intended to implement, on a multi-annual basis, the joint action by the Union and the Member States to achieve the Union priorities for rural development ▌.

(b) "region" means Territorial unit corresponding to level 1 or 2 of the Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS level 1 and 2) within the meaning of Regulation (EC) No 1059/20032(30)5 of the European Parliament and of the Council ;

(c) "measure"means a set of operations contributing to one or more of the Union priorities for rural development;

(h) "support rate" means the rate of the public contribution to an operation;

(l)  "transaction cost": means an additional cost linked to fulfilling a commitment, but not directly attributable to its implementation ▌ or not included in the costs or income-foregone that are compensated directly. It may be calculated on a standard cost basis;

(m) " agricultural area " means any area taken up by arable land, permanent grassland or permanent crops as defined in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No DP/20122(31)6;

(n) "economic losses" means any additional cost incurred by a farmer as a result of exceptional measures taken by the farmer with the objective of reducing supply on the market concerned or any substantial loss of production;

(o) "adverse climatic event" means weather conditions, such as frost, storms and hail, ice, heavy rain or severe drought, which can be assimilated to a natural disaster;

(p) "animal diseases" means diseases mentioned in the list of animal diseases established by the World Organisation for Animal Health or in the Annex to Council Decision ▌2(32)7 2009/470/EC2(33)8;

(q) "environmental incident" means a specific occurrence of pollution, contamination or degradation in the quality of the environment related to a specific event and of limited geographical scope. It does not cover general environmental risks not connected with a specific event, such as climate change or atmospheric pollution;

(r) "natural disaster"means a naturally occurring event of biotic or abiotic nature that leads to important disturbances of agricultural production systems or forest structures, eventually causing important economic damage to the farming or forestry sectors;

(s) "catastrophic event"means an unforeseen event of biotic or abiotic nature caused by human action that leads to important disturbances of agricultural production systems and forest structures, eventually causing important economic damage to the farming or forestry sectors;

(t)  "short supply chain": means a supply chain involving a limited number of economic operators, committed to co-operation, local economic development, and close geographical and social relations between producers, processors and consumers;

(u) "young farmer" means a person who is ▌40 years of age or less at the moment of submitting the application, possesses adequate occupational skills and competence and is setting up for the first time in an agricultural holding as head of the holding;

(w) "thematic objectives"means the thematic objectives defined in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] of the European Parliament and the Council 2(34)9.

(x) "Common Strategic Framework" ( ▌"CSF")means the Common Strategic Framework referred to in Articles 2 and 10 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012];

(xa)           "cluster" means a grouping of independent undertakings - start-ups, small, medium and large undertakings as well as advisory bodies and/or research organisations - designed to stimulate economic/ innovative activity by promoting intensive interactions, sharing of facilities and exchange of knowledge and expertise and by contributing effectively to knowledge transfer, networking and information dissemination among the undertakings in the cluster;

(xb)           “forest” means an area of land spanning more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent, or trees able to reach these thresholds in situ. It does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban land use. A Member State or region may choose to apply another forest definition based on existing national legislation or inventory system. The Member States or Regions shall provide the definition in the rural development programme.

2.  In order to ensure a coherent approach in the treatment of beneficiaries and to take into account the need for an adaptation period, as regards the definition of young farmer laid down in paragraph 1(u), the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the conditions under which a legal person may be considered a 'young farmer', and the setting of a grace period for the acquisition of occupational skills.

Chapter II

Mission, objectives, priorities and consistency

Article 3

Mission

The EAFRD shall contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy by promoting sustainable rural development throughout the Union in a complementary manner to the other instruments of the CAP, to cohesion policy and to the common fisheries policy. It shall contribute to the development of a more territorially and environmentally balanced, climate-friendly and resilient, competitive and innovative Union agricultural sector and to the development of rural territories.

Article 4

Objectives

Within the overall framework of the CAP, support for rural development, including for activities in the food, as well as non-food, sector and forestry, shall contribute to achieving the following objectives:

(1) fostering the competitiveness of agriculture;

(2) ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources, and climate action;

(3) achieving a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities including the creation and maintainance of employment.

Article 5Union priorities for rural development

The achievement of the objectives of rural development, which contribute to the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, shall be pursued through the following six Union priorities for rural development, which translate the relevant Thematic Objectives of the CSF:

(1) fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry, and rural areas with a focus on the following areas:

(a) fostering innovation, cooperation, and the development of the knowledge base in rural areas;

(b) strengthening the links between agriculture, food production and forestry and research and innovation, including for the purpose of improved environmental management and performance;

(c)            fostering lifelong learning and vocational training in the agricultural and forestry sectors.

(2) enhancing farm viability and competitiveness of all types of agriculture in all regions and promoting innovative farm technologies and sustainable management of forests, with a focus on the following areas:

(a) improving the economic performance of all farms and facilitating farm restructuring and modernisation , notably ▌with a view to increase market participation and orientation as well as agricultural diversification;

(b) facilitating the entry of adequately skilled farmers into the agricultural sector and, in particular, generational renewal .

(3) promoting food chain organisation, including processing and marketing of agricultural products, animal welfare and risk management in agriculture, with a focus on the following areas:

(a) improving competitiveness of primary producers by better integrating them into the agri-food chain through quality schemes, adding value to agricultural products, promotion in local markets and short supply circuits, producer groups and organisations and inter-branch organisations;

(b) supporting farm risk prevention and management.

(4)  restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry, with a focus on the following areas:

(a) restoring, and preserving and enhancing biodiversity, including in Natura 2000 areas, areas facing natural or other specific constraints and high nature value farming, and the state of European landscapes;

(b) improving water management, including fertiliser and pesticide management;

(c) preventing soil erosion and improving soil management.

(5) promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry sectors, with a focus on the following areas:

(a) increasing efficiency in water use by agriculture;

(b) increasing efficiency in energy use in agriculture and food processing;

(c) facilitating the supply and use of renewable sources of energy, of by-products, wastes, residues and other non food raw material for purposes of the bio-economy;

(d) reducing green house gas and ammonia emissions from agriculture;

(e) fostering carbon conservation and sequestration in agriculture and forestry;

(6) promoting social inclusion poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas, with a focus on the following areas:

(a) facilitating diversification, creation and development of small enterprises and job creation;

(b) fostering local development in rural areas;

(c) enhancing accessibility to, use and quality of information and communication technologies (ICT) in rural areas.

All of those priorities shall contribute to the cross-cutting objectives of innovation, environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Programmes may address fewer than six priorities if justified on the basis of the analysis of the situation in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ("SWOT") and the ex ante evaluation. At least four priorities shall be addressed by each programme. When a Member State submits a national programme and a set of regional programmes, the national programme may address less than four priorities.

Other focus areas may be included in programmes in order to pursue one of the priorities if justified and measurable.

TITLE II

Programming

Chapter I

Programming content

Article 7Rural development programmes

1.  The EAFRD shall act in the Member States through rural development programmes. Those programmes shall implement a strategy to meet the Union priorities for rural development through a set of measures as defined in Title III, for the achievement of which aid from the EAFRD will be sought.

2.  A Member State may submit either a single programme for its entire territory or a set of regional programmes or, in duly justified cases, a national programme and a set of regional programmes. If a Member State submits a national programme and a set of regional programmes, measures and/or types of operations shall be programmed either at national level or at regional level, and coherence between the strategies of the national and regional programmes shall be ensured.

3.  Member States with regional programmes may also submit, for approval, a national framework containing common elements for these programmes without a separate budgetary allocation.

National frameworks of Member States with regional programmes may also contain a table summarising, by region and by year, the total EAFRD contribution to the Member State concerned for the whole programming period.

Article 8Thematic sub-programmes

1.  With the aim of contributing to the achievement of the Union priorities for rural development, Member States may include within their rural development programmes thematic sub-programmes that address specific needs. Such thematic sub-programmes may, inter alia, relate to:

(a) young farmers;

(b) small farms as referred to in the third subparagraph of Article 20(2);

(c) mountain areas as referred to in Article 33(2);

(d) short supply chains;

(da)           women in rural areas;

(db)           climate change mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity.

An indicative list of measures and types of operations of particular relevance to each thematic sub-programme is set out in Annex III.

2.  Thematic sub-programmes may also address specific needs relating to the restructuring of agricultural sectors with a significant impact on the development of a specific rural area.

3.  The support rates laid down in Annex I may be increased by 10 percentage points for operations supported in the framework of thematic sub-programmes concerning small farms and short supply chains, climate change mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity. In the case of young farmers and mountain areas, the maximum support rates may be increased in accordance with Annex I. However, the maximum combined support rate shall not exceed 90%.

Article 9Content of rural development programmes

1.  In addition to the elements referred to in Article 24 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012], each rural development programme shall include:

(a) the ex ante evaluation referred to in Article 48 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012];

(b) an analysis of the situation by a SWOT analysis and identification of the needs that have to be addressed in the geographical area covered by the programme ▌.

The analysis shall be structured around the Union priorities for rural development. Specific needs concerning the environment, climate change mitigation and adaptation and innovation shall be assessed across Union priorities for rural development, in view of identifying relevant responses in these three areas at the level of each priority;

(c) a description of the strategy which shall demonstrate that:

(ia)      appropriate targets are set for each of the focus areas of the Union priorities for rural development included in the programme, on the basis of common indicators referred to in Article 76 and, where necessary, of programme specific indicators;

(i)  relevant combinations of measures are selected in relation to each of the focus areas of the Union priorities for rural development included in the programme, based on a sound intervention logic supported by the ex ante evaluation referred to in point (a) and the analysis referred to in point (b);

(ii) the allocation of financial resources to the measures of the programme is justified and adequate to achieve the targets set;

(iii) specific needs linked with specific conditions at regional or sub-regional level are taken into account and concretely addressed through adequately designed combinations of measures or thematic sub-programmes;

(iv) an appropriate approach towards innovation with a view to achieving the Union priorities for rural development, including the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability, towards the environment, including the specific needs of Natura 2000 areas, and towards climate change mitigation and adaptation is integrated into the programme;

(vi) measures have been taken to ensure the availability of sufficient advisory capacity on the regulatory requirements and on actions related to innovation ;

(d) for each ex ante conditionality, established in accordance with Article 17 and Annex (….) Section 2 of Regulation [CSF/2013] for the general ex-ante conditionalities, and in accordance with Annex IV of this regulation, an assessment of which of the ex-ante conditionalities are applicable to the programme and which of them are fulfilled at the date of submission of the Partnership Agreement and the programme. Where the applicable ex-ante conditionalities are not fulfilled, the programme shall contain a description of the actions to be taken, the responsible bodies and the timetable for their implementation in accordance with the summary submitted in the Partnership Agreement.

(da)           a description of the performance framework established for the purpose of Article 19 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2013];

(e) a description of each of the measures selected;

(h)  ▌the evaluation plan referred to in Article 49 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012]. The Member States shall provide sufficient resources ▌to address the identified needs and ensure proper monitoring and evaluation;

(i)  a financing plan comprising:

(i)  a table setting out, in accordance with Article 64(4), the total EAFRD contribution planned for each year. When applicable this table shall indicate separately within the total EAFRD contribution the appropriations provided for the less developed regions and the funds transferred to the EAFRD in application of Article 7(2) of Regulation (EU) No DP/2012. The planned annual EAFRD contribution shall be compatible with the Multi-annual Financial Framework;

(ii) a table setting out, for each measure, for each type of operation with a specific EAFRD contribution rate and for technical assistance, the total Union contribution planned and the applicable EAFRD contribution rate. Where applicable, this table shall indicate separately the EAFRD contribution rate for less developed regions and for other regions;

(j)  an indicator plan, broken down into focus areas, comprising the targets referred to in Article 9(1)(ia) and the planned outputs and planned expenditure of each rural development measure selected in relation to a corresponding focus area;

(k) where applicable, a table on additional national financing per measure in accordance with Article 89;

(l)   ▌where applicable, the list of aid schemes falling under Article 88(1) to be used for the implementation of the programmes;

(m) information on the complementarity with measures financed by the other common agricultural policy instruments, and by the European Structural and Investment Funds ("ESI");

(n)  programme implementing arrangements including:

(i)  the designation by the Member State of all authorities referred to in Article 72(2) and, for information, a summary description of the management and control structure;

(ii) a description of the monitoring and evaluation procedures, as well as the composition of the Monitoring Committee;

(iii) the provisions to ensure that the programme is publicised, including through the national rural network referred to in Article 55;

(iv) a description of the approach laying down principles with regard to establishment of selection criteria for operations and local development strategies, which takes into account relevant targets; in this context Member States may provide for priority to be given to SMEs linked to the agriculture and forestry sector.

(v) in relation to local development, where applicable, a description of the mechanisms to ensure coherence between activities envisaged under the local development strategies, the "Cooperation" measure referred to in Article 36, the "Basic services and village renewal in rural areas" measure referred to in Article 21 including urban-rural links;

(o) the actions taken to involve the partners referred to in Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] and a summary of the outcome of the consultation of the partners;

(p) where applicable, the ▌structure of the National Rural Network as referred to in Article 55(3), and provisions for its management, which would constitute the basis for its annual actions plans.

2.  Where thematic sub-programmes are included in a rural development programme, each sub-programme shall include:

(a) a specific analysis of the situation in terms of SWOT and identification of the needs that have to be addressed by the sub-programme;

(b) specific targets at sub-programme level and a selection of measures, based on a thorough definition of the intervention logic of the sub-programme, including an assessment of the expected contribution of the measures chosen to achieve the targets;

(c) a separate specific indicator plan, with planned outputs and planned expenditure of each rural development measure selected in relation to a corresponding focus area.

3.  The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts lay down rules for the presentation of the elements described in paragraphs 1 and 2 in rural development programmes and for the content of national frameworks referred to in Article 7(3). Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

Chapter II

Preparation, approval and modification of rural development programmes

Article 10Ex ante conditionalities

In addition to the general ex ante conditionalities , referred to in Annex (…) Section 2 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2013], the ex ante conditionalities referred to in Annex IV of this Regulation shall apply for the EAFRD programming, if relevant and applicable to the specific objectives pursued within the priorities of the programme.

Article 11Approval of rural development programmes

1.  Member States shall submit to the Commission a proposal for each rural development programme, containing the information mentioned in Article 9.

2.  Each rural development programme shall be approved by the Commission by means of an implementing act ▌.

Article 12Amendment of rural development programmes

1.  Requests ▌by Member States to amend programmes shall be approved in accordance with the following procedures:

(a) The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, decide on requests to amend programmes that concern:

(i)  a change in the programme strategy through a change of more than 50% in any result indicator linked to a focus area ;

(ii) a change in the EAFRD contribution rate of one or more measures;

(iii) a change of the entire Union contribution or its annual distribution at programme level;

(b) The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, approve requests to amend the programme in all other cases. These shall include, in particular:

(i)  introduction or withdrawal of measures or types of operations;

(ii) changes in the description of measures, including changes of eligibility conditions.

(iii)      a transfer of funds between measures implemented under different EAFRD contribution rates.

(c) For corrections of a purely clerical or editorial nature that do not affect the implementation of the policy and the measures, no approval by the Commission shall be required. Member States shall inform the Commission of those amendments.

2.  The approval referred to in paragraph 1(b) shall be given by means of implementing acts. However, in the cases referred to in paragraph 1(b), where the transfer of funds concerns less than 20% of the allocation to a measure and less than 5% of the total EAFRD contribution to the programme, the approval shall be deemed to be given, if the Commission has not taken a decision on the request after the lapse of 42 working days from the receipt of the request. That time limit shall not include the period which starts on the day following the date on which the Commission has sent its observations to the Member State and lasts until the Member State has responded to the observations.

Article 13Rules on procedures and timetables

The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, adopt rules on procedures and timetables for:

(a) the approval of rural development programmes and national frameworks;

(b) the submission and approval of proposals for amendments to rural development programmes and proposals for amendments to national frameworks, including their entry into force and frequency of submission during the programming period.

Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

TITLE III

Rural development support

Chapter I

Measures

Article 14Measures

Each rural development measure shall be programmed to contribute specifically to the achievement of one or more Union priorities for rural development. An indicative list of measures of particular relevance to the Union priorities is set out in Annex V.

Article 15Knowledge transfer and information actions

1.  Support under this measure shall cover vocational training and skills acquisition actions, demonstration activities and information actions. Vocational training and skills acquisition actions may include training courses, workshops and coaching.

Support may also cover short-term farm and forest management exchanges as well as farm and forest visits.

2.  Support under this measure shall be for the benefit of persons engaged in the agricultural, food and forestry sector, land managers and other economic actors which are SMEs operating in rural areas.

The training or other knowledge transfer and information action provider shall be the beneficiary of the support.

3.  Support under this measure shall not include courses of instruction or training, which form part of normal education programmes or systems at secondary or higher levels.

Bodies providing knowledge transfer and information services shall have the appropriate capacities in the form of staff qualifications and regular training to carry out this task.

4.  Eligible costs under this measure shall be the costs of organising and delivering the knowledge transfer or information action. In the case of demonstration projects, support may also cover relevant investment costs. Costs for travel, accommodation and per diem expenses of participants as well as the cost of replacement of farmers shall also be eligible. All costs identified under this paragraph shall be paid to the beneficiary.

5.  In order to ensure that farm and forest exchange schemes and visits are clearly demarcated in relation to similar actions under other Union schemes, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the ▌duration and content of farm and forest exchange schemes and farm and forest visits.

The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts lay down the rules on payment modalities for participants' costs, including through the use of vouchers or other similar forms.

Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

Article 16Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

1.  Support under this measure shall be granted in order to:

(a) help farmers, young farmers as defined in Article 2, forest holders, other land managers and SMEs in rural areas benefit from the use of advisory services for the improvement of the economic and environmental performance as well as the climate friendliness and resilience of their holding, enterprise and/or investment;

(b) promote the setting up of farm management, farm relief and farm advisory services, as well as forestry advisory services, including the Farm Advisory System referred to in Articles 12 to 14 of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012;

(c) promote the training of advisors.

2.  The beneficiary of support provided in paragraph 1(a) and (c) shall be the provider of advice or training. Support under paragraph 1(b) shall be granted to the authority or body selected to set up the farm management, farm relief, farm advisory or forestry advisory service.

3.  The authorities or bodies selected to provide advice shall have the appropriate resources in the form of regularly trained and qualified staff and advisory experience and reliability with respect to the fields they advise in. The beneficiaries under this measure shall be chosen through calls for proposals. The selection procedure shall be governed by public procurement law and shall be open to both public and private bodies. It shall be objective and shall exclude candidates with conflicts of interest.

When providing advice, advisory services shall respect the non-disclosure obligations referred to in Article 13(2) of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012.

4.  Advice to the individual farmers, young farmers as defined in Article 2 and other land managers shall be linked to at least one Union priority for rural development and shall cover as a minimum one of the following elements:

(a) obligations at farm level deriving from the statutory management requirements and/or standards for good agricultural and environmental conditions provided for in Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) No …/2013 [HR];

(b) where applicable, the agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and the environment as laid down in Chapter 2 of Title III of Regulation (EU) No …/2013 [DP]and the maintenance of the agricultural area as referred to in Article 4(1)(c) of Regulation (EU) No …/2013 [DP ▌];

(c) measures at farm level provided for in rural development programmes aiming at farm modernisation, competitiveness building, sectoral integration, innovation, market orientation as well as the promotion of entrepreneurship ;

(d) requirements at the level of beneficiaries as defined by Member States for implementing Article 11 (3) of Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council3(35)0;

(da)           requirements at the level of beneficiaries as defined by Member States for implementing Article 55 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, in particular the compliance with the general principles of integrated pest management as referred to in Article 14 of Directive 2009/128/EC establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides; or

(e) where relevant, occupational safety standards or safety standards linked to the farm;

(ea)           specific advice for farmers setting-up for the first time.

Advice may also cover other issues and in particular the information related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity and protection of water ▌as laid down in Annex I to Regulation (EU) No …/2013 [HR] or

▌ issues linked to the economic ▌and environmental performance of the agricultural holding including competitiveness aspects. This may include advice for the development of short supply chains, organic farming and health aspects of animal husbandry.

5.  Advice to forest holders shall cover, as a minimum, the relevant obligations under Directives 92/43/EEC, 2009/147/ECand 2000/60/EC. It may also cover issues linked to the economic and environmental performance of the forest holding.

6.  Advice to SMEs may cover issues linked to the economic and environmental performance of the enterprise.

7.  Where duly justified and appropriate, advice may be partly provided in group, while taking into account the situations of the individual user of advisory services.

8.  Support under paragraphs 1(a) and (c) shall be limited to the maximum amounts laid down in Annex I. Support under paragraph 1(b) shall be degressive over a maximum period of five years from setting up.

Article 17Quality schemes for agricultural products

, and foodstuffs

1.  Support under this measure shall cover new participation by farmers and groups of farmers in:

(a) quality schemes ▌ established under the following Regulations and provisions:

i.   Regulation (EU) 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council3(36)1

ii.  Council Regulation (EC) No 834/20073(37)2;

iii. Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council3(38)3;

iv. Proposal for Regulation (EC) 3(39)4 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of aromatised wine products;

v.  Part II, Title II, Chapter I, Section Ia of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 as concerns wine.

(b) quality schemes, including farm certification schemes, for agricultural products, cotton or foodstuffs, recognised by the Member States as complying with the following criteria:

(i)  the specificity of the final product under such schemes is derived from clear obligations to guarantee:

- specific product characteristics, ▌

- specific farming or production methods, or

- a quality of the final product that goes significantly beyond the commercial commodity standards as regards public, animal or plant health, animal welfare or environmental protection;

(ii) the scheme is open to all producers;

(iii) the scheme involves binding product specifications and compliance with those specifications is verified by public authorities or by an independent inspection body;

(iv) the scheme is transparent and assures complete traceability of products; or

(c) voluntary agricultural product certification schemes recognised by the Member States as meeting the Union best practice guidelines 3(40)5 for the operation of voluntary certification schemes relating to agricultural products and foodstuffs.

1a. Support under this measure may also cover costs arising from information and promotion activities implemented by groups of producers in the internal market, concerning products covered by a quality scheme receiving support in accordance with paragraph 1.

2.  Support under paragraph 1 shall be granted as an annual incentive payment, the level of which shall be determined according to the level of the fixed costs arising from participation in supported schemes, for a maximum duration of five years.

For the purposes of this paragraph, "fixed costs" means the costs incurred for entering a supported quality scheme and the annual contribution for participating in that scheme, including, where necessary, expenditure on checks required to verify compliance with the specifications of the scheme.

For the purposes of this article, "farmer" means active farmer within the meaning of Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No …/2013 [DP].

3.  Support shall be limited to the maximum amount laid down in Annex I.

4.  In order to take into account new Union legislation that may affect support under this measure and in order to ensure consistency with other Union instruments on promotion of agricultural measures and prevent distortion of competition, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning, respectively, the specific Union ▌schemes to be covered by paragraph 1(a) and the characteristics of groups of producers and types of actions that may receive support under paragraph 1a, the setting of conditions to prevent discrimination of products and the exclusion of commercial brands from support.

Article 18Investments in physical assets

1.  Support under this measure shall cover tangible and/or intangible investments which:

(a) improve the overall performance and sustainability of the agricultural holding;

(b) concern the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products covered by Annex I to the Treaty or cotton, except fishery products. The output of the production process may be a product not covered by that Annex;

(c) concern infrastructure related to the development, modernisation or adaptation of agriculture and forestry, including access to farm and forest land, land consolidation and improvement, the supply and saving of energy and water ▌; or

(d) are non -productive investments linked to the achievement of agri- ▌environment ▌-climate objectives as pursued under this regulation, including biodiversity conservation status of species and habitat as well as enhancing the public amenity value of a Natura 2000 area or other high nature value systems to be defined in the programme.

2.  Support under point (a) of paragraph 1 ▌ shall be granted to farmers or groups of farmers.

     In the case of investments to support farm restructuring, ▌ Member States shall target the support to farms in accordance with the SWOT analysis carried out in relation to the Union priority for rural development "enhancing farm viability and competitiveness of all types of agriculture in all regions and promoting innovative farm technologies and sustainable management of forests" .

3.  Support under points (a) and (b) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be limited to the maximum support rates laid down in Annex I. Those maximum rates may be increased for young farmers, for collective investments, including those linked to a merger of Producer Organisations, and for integrated projects involving support under more than one measure, for investments in areas facing ▌ natural and other specific constraints as referred to in Article 33for investments linked to operations under Articles 29, 30 and for operations supported in the framework of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability in accordance with the support rates laid down in Annex I. However, the maximum combined support rate may not exceed 90%.

4.  Support under points (c) and (d) of paragraph 1 shall be subject to the support rates laid down in Annex I.

4a. Support may be granted to young farmers setting-up for the first time in an agricultural holding as head of the holding for investments to comply with Union standards applying to agricultural production, including occupational safety. Such support may be provided for a maximum of 24 months from the date of setting up.

4b. Where Union legislation imposes new requirements on farmers support may be granted for investments to comply with those requirements for a maximum of 12 months from the date on which they become mandatory for the agricultural holding.

Article 19Restoring agricultural production potential damaged by natural disasters and catastrophic events and introduction of appropriate prevention actions

1.  Support under this measure shall cover:

(a) investments in preventive actions aimed at reducing the consequences of probable natural disasters, adverse climatic events and catastrophic events;

(b) investments for the restoration of agricultural land and production potential damaged by natural disasters, adverse climatic events and catastrophic events.

2.  Support shall be granted to farmers or groups of farmers. Support may also be granted to public entities where a link between the investment undertaken by such entities and agricultural production potential is established.

3.  Support under point (b) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be subject to the formal recognition by the competent public authorities of Member States that a natural disaster has occurred and that this disaster or measures adopted in accordance with Council Directive 2000/29/EC3(41)6 to eradicate or contain a plant disease or pest has caused the destruction of at least 30 % of the relevant agricultural potential.

4.  No support under this measure shall be granted for loss of income resulting from the natural disaster or catastrophic event.

Member States shall ensure that overcompensation as a result of the combination of this measure and other national or Union support instruments or private insurance schemes is avoided.

5.  Support under point (a) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be limited to the maximum support rates laid down in Annex I. ▌

Article 20Farm and business development

1.  Support under this measure shall cover:

(a) business start-up aid for:

(i)  young farmers;

(ii) non-agricultural activities in rural areas;

(iii) the development of small farms;

(b) investments in creation and development of non-agricultural activities;

(c) annual payments or one-off payments for farmers eligible for the small farmers scheme established by Title V of Regulation (EU) No …/2013 [DP] ( ▌"the small farmers scheme") who permanently transfer their holding to another farmer ▌;

2.  Support under point (a)(i) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be granted to young farmers.

Support under point (a)(ii) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be granted to farmers or members of a farm household who diversify into non-agricultural activities and to ▌ micro- and small- enterprises and natural persons in rural areas.

Support under point (a)(iii) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be granted to small farms as defined by Member States.

Support under point (b) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be granted to ▌ micro- and small ▌ enterprises and natural persons in rural areas and to farmers or members of a farm household.

Support under point (c) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be granted to farmers eligible to participate in the small farmers scheme, at the time of submitting their application for support, for at least one year and who commit to permanently transfer their entire holding and the corresponding payment entitlements to another farmer. Support shall be paid from the date of the transfer until 31 December 2020 or calculated in respect of that period and paid in the form of a one-off payment.

3.  Any natural or legal person or a group of natural or legal persons, whatever legal status is granted to the group and its members by national law, may be considered as a member of a farm household, with the exception of farm workers. Where a legal person or a group of legal persons is considered as a member of the farm household, that member must exercise an agricultural activity on the farm at the time of the support application.

4.  Support under point (a) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be conditional on the submission of a business plan. Implementation of the business plan has to start within nine months from the date of the decision granting the aid.

For young farmers receiving support under point (a)(i) the business plan shall provide that the young farmer has to comply with the definition of active farmer under Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No DP/2013, within 18 months from the date of setting up.

Member States shall define upper and lower thresholds for allowing agricultural holdings access to support under points (a)(i) and ▌(a)(iii) of paragraph 1 ▌. The lower threshold for support under point (a)(i) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be ▌ higher than the upper threshold for support under point (a)(iii) of paragraph 1 ▌. Support shall ▌be limited to holdings coming under the definition of micro ▌ and small ▌ enterprises.

5.  Support under point (a) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be ▌ paid in at least two instalments over a period of maximum five years. Instalments may be degressive. The payment of the last instalment, under points (a)(i) and (ii) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be conditional upon the correct implementation of the business plan.

6.  The maximum amount of support under point (a) of paragraph 1 ▌is laid down in Annex I. Member States shall define the amount of support under points (a)(i) and (a)(ii) of paragraph 1 ▌also taking into account the socio-economic situation of the programme area.

7.  Support under under point (c) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be equal to 120% of the annual payment that the beneficiary is eligible to receive ▌under the small farmers scheme.

8.  In order to ensure the efficient and effective use of EAFRD resources, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the minimum content of business plans and the criteria to be used by Member states for setting the thresholds referred to in paragraph 4.

Article 21Basic services and village renewal in rural areas

1.  Support under this measure shall cover, in particular:

(a) the drawing up and updating of plans for the development of municipalities and villages in rural areas and their basic services and of protection and management plans relating to NATURA 2000 sites and other areas of high nature value;

(b) investments in the creation, improvement or expansion of all types of small scale infrastructure, including investments in renewable energy and energy saving;

(c) broadband infrastructure, including its creation, improvement and expansion, passive broadband infrastructure and provision of access to broadband and public e-government solutions;

(d) investments in the setting-up, improvement or expansion of local basic services for the rural population, including leisure and culture, and the related infrastructure;

(e) investments for public use in recreational infrastructure, tourist information and small scale tourism infrastructure;

(f)  studies and investments associated with the maintenance, restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage of villages ▌, rural landscapes and high nature value sites, including related socio-economic aspects, as well as environmental awareness actions;

(g) investments targeting the relocation of activities and conversion of buildings or other facilities located inside or close to rural settlements, with a view to improving the quality of life or increasing the environmental performance of the settlement.

2.  Support under this measure shall only concern small-scale infrastructure, as defined by each Member State in the programme. However, rural development programmes may provide for specific derogations from this rule for investments in broadband and renewable energy. In this case, clear criteria ensuring complementarity with support under other Union instruments shall be provided.

3.  Investments under paragraph 1 shall be eligible for support where the relevant operations are implemented in accordance with plans for the development of municipalities and villages in rural areas and their basic services, where such plans exist and shall be consistent with any relevant local development strategy ▌.

Article 22Investments in forest area development and improvement of the viability of forests

1.  Support under this measure shall concern:

(a) afforestation and creation of woodland;

(b) establishment of agroforestry systems;

(c) prevention and restoration of damage to forests from forest fires ▌, natural disasters and catastrophic events, including pest and disease outbreaks, ▌ and climate related threats;

(d) investments improving the resilience and environmental value as well as the mitigation potential of forest ecosystems;

(e) investments in ▌ forestry technologies and in processing, in mobilising and in the marketing of forest products.

2.  Limitations on ownership of forests provided for in Articles 23 to 27 shall not apply to the tropical or subtropical forests and to the wooded areas of the territories of the Azores, Madeira, the Canary islands, the smaller Aegean islands within the meaning of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93 3(42)7 and the French overseas departments.

For holdings above a certain size, to be determined by the Member States in the programme, support shall be conditional on the presentation of the relevant information from a forest management plan or equivalent instrument in line with sustainable forest management as defined by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe of 1993 3(43)8 ( ▌"sustainable forest management").

Article 23Afforestation and creation of woodland

1.  Support under Article 22(1)(a) shall be granted to public and private land-holders-and their associations and shall cover the costs of establishment and an annual premium per hectare to cover the costs of agricultural income foregone and maintenance, including early and late cleanings, for a maximum period of twelve years. In the case of state-owned land, support may only be granted if the body managing such land is a private body or a municipality.

Support for afforestation of land owned by public authorities or for fast growing trees shall cover only the costs of establishment.

2.  Both agricultural and non-agricultural land shall be eligible. Species planted shall be adapted to the environmental and climatic conditions of the area and comply with minimum environmental requirements. No support shall be granted for the planting of trees for short rotation coppicing, Christmas trees or fast growing trees for energy production. In areas where afforestation is made difficult by severe pedo-climatic conditions support may be provided for planting other perennial woody species such as shrubs or bushes suitable to the local conditions.

3.  In order to ensure that afforestation of agricultural land is in line with the aims of environmental policy, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the definition of the minimum environmental requirements referred to in paragraph 2.

Article 24Establishment of

agroforestry systems

1.  Support under Article 22(1)(b) shall be granted to private land-holders municipalities and their associations and shall cover the costs of establishment and an annual premium per hectare to cover the costs of maintenance for a maximum period of five years.

2.  "Agroforestry systems" means land use systems in which trees are grown in combination with ▌agriculture on the same land. The minimum and maximum number of trees ▌ per hectare shall be determined by the Member States taking account of local pedo-climatic and environmental conditions, forestry species and the need to ensure sustainable agricultural use of the land.

3.  Support shall be limited to the maximum support rate laid down in Annex I.

Article 25Prevention and restoration of damage to forests from forest fires

and natural disasters and catastrophic events

1.  Support under Article 22(1)(c) shall be granted to private ▌and public forest- holders and other private law and public bodies and their associations and shall cover the costs for:

(a) the establishment of protective infrastructure. In the case of firebreaks, support may also cover aid contributing to maintenance costs. No support shall be granted for agricultural related activities in areas covered by agri-environment commitments;

(b) local, small scale prevention activities against fire or other natural hazards; including the use of grazing animals;

(c) establishing and improving forest fire, pest and diseases monitoring facilities and communication equipment; and

(d) restoring forest potential damaged from fires and other natural disasters including pests, diseases as well as catastrophic events and climate change related events.

2.  In the case of preventive actions concerning pests and diseases, the risk of a relevant disaster occurrence must be supported by scientific evidence and acknowledged by scientific public organisations. Where relevant, the list of species of organisms harmful to plants which may cause a disaster must be provided in the programme.

Eligible operations shall be consistent with the forest protection plan established by the Member States. For holdings above a certain size, to be determined by the Member States in the programme, support shall be conditional on the presentation of the relevant information from a forest management plan or equivalent instrument in line with sustainable forest management as defined by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe of 1993 detailing the preventive objectives.

Forest areas classified as medium to high forest fire risk according to the forest protection plan established by the Member States shall be eligible for support relating to forest fire prevention.

3.  Support under point (d) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be subject to the formal recognition by the competent public authorities of Member States that a natural disaster has occurred and that that disaster, or measures adopted in accordance with Directive 2000/29/EC to eradicate or contain a plant disease or pest has caused the destruction of at least 20% of the relevant forest potential. ▌

4.  No support under this measure shall be granted for loss of income resulting from the natural disaster.

Member States shall ensure that overcompensation as a result of the combination of this measure and other national or Union support instruments or private insurance schemes is avoided.

Article 26Investments improving the resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems

1.  Support under Article 22(1)(d) shall be granted to natural persons, private and public forest-holders , and other private law and ▌public bodies ▌and their associations. ▌

2.  Investments shall be aimed at the achievement of commitments undertaken for environmental aims or providing ecosystem services and/or which enhance the public amenity value of forest and wooded land in the area concerned or improve the climate change mitigation potential of ecosystems, without excluding economic benefits in the long term.

Article 27Investments in

▌ forestry technologies and in processing, in mobilisingand

in the marketing of forest products

1.  Support under Article 22(1)(e) shall be granted to private forest- holders, municipalities and their associations and to SMEs for investments enhancing forestry potential or relating to processing, mobilising and marketing adding value to forest products. In the territories of the Azores, Madeira, the Canary islands, the smaller Aegean islands within the meaning of Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93 and the French overseas departments support may also be granted to enterprises that are not SMEs.

2.  Investments related to the improvement of the economic value of forests shall be justified in relation to expected improvements to forests on one or more holdings and may include investments for soil- friendly and resource -friendly harvesting machinery and practices.

3.  Investments related to the use of wood as a raw material or energy source shall be limited to all working operations prior to industrial processing.

4.  Support shall be limited to the maximum support rates laid down in Annex I.

Article 28Setting

-up of producer groups and organisations

1.  Support under this measure shall be granted in order to facilitate the setting up of producer groups and organisations in the agriculture and forestry sectors for the purpose of:

(a) adapting the production and output of producers who are members of such groups or organisations to market requirements;

(b) jointly placing goods on the market, including preparation for sale, centralisation of sales and supply to bulk buyers;

(c) establishing common rules on production information, with particular regard to harvesting and availability; and

(d) other activities that may be carried out by producer groups and organisations, such as development of business and marketing skills and organisation and facilitation of innovation processes.

2.  Support shall be granted to producer groups and organisations which are officially recognised by the Member States' competent authority on the basis of a business plan. It shall be limited to producer groups and organisations coming under the definition of SMEs.

Member States shall verify that the objectives of the business plan have been reached within five years after recognition of the producer group or organisation.

3.  The support shall be paid as a flat rate aid in annual instalments for no more than five years following the date on which the producer group or organisation was recognised on the basis of its business plan and it shall be degressive. It shall be calculated on the basis of the group's annual marketed production. Member States shall pay the last instalment only after having verified the correct implementation of the business plan.

In the first year Member States may pay support to the producer group or organisation calculated on the basis of the average annual value of the marketed production of its members over the three years before they entered the group. In the case of producer groups and organisations in the forestry sector, support shall be calculated on the basis of the average marketed production of the members of the group or organisation over the last five years before the recognition, excluding the highest and the lowest value.

4.  Support shall be limited to the maximum rates and amounts laid down in Annex I.

4a. Member States may continue support for setting-up of producer groups even after they have been recognised as producer organisations under the conditions of Regulation (EU) xxx/xxx[sCMO].

Article 29Agri-environment- climate

1.  Under this measure, Member States shall make support ▌available throughout their territories, in accordance with their national, regional or local specific needs and priorities. This measure shall be aimed at the preservation as well as at the promotion of the necessary changes into agricultural practices that make a positive contribution to the environment and climate. Its inclusion in rural development programmes shall be compulsory.

2.  Agri-environment-climate payments shall be granted to farmers, groups of farmers or groups of farmers and other land-managers who undertake, on a voluntary basis, to carry out operations consisting of one or more agri-environment-climate commitments on agricultural land to be defined by Member States, including but not limited to the agricultural area as defined under Article 2 of this Regulation. Where duly justified to achieve environmental objectives, agri-environment-climate payments may be granted to other land-managers or groups of other land-managers.

3.  Agri-environment-climate payments cover only those commitments going beyond the relevant mandatory standards established pursuant to Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 , the relevant criteria and minimum activities as established pursuant to Article 4(1)(c) second and third indents respectively of Regulation (EU) No DP/2013, relevant minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products use as well as other relevant mandatory requirements established by national legislation. All such mandatory requirements shall be identified in the programme.

4.  Member States shall endeavour to ensure that persons undertaking to carry out operations under this measure are provided with the knowledge and information required to implement them, such as commitment-related expert advice and/or by making support under this measure conditional to relevant training.

5.  Commitments under this measure shall be undertaken for a period of five to seven years. However, where necessary in order to achieve or maintain the environmental benefits sought, Member States may determine a longer period in their rural development programmes for particular types of commitments, including by means of providing for their annual extension after the termination of the initial period. For new commitments directly following the commitment performed in the initial period, Member States may determine a shorter period in their rural development programmes.

6.  Payments shall be granted annually and shall compensate beneficiaries for all or part of the additional costs and income foregone resulting from the commitments made. Where necessary, they may also cover transaction costs to a value of up to 20% of the premium paid for the agri-environment-climate commitments. Where commitments are undertaken by groups of farmers or groups of farmers and other land managers, the maximum level shall be 30%.

When calculating the payments referred to in the first sub-paragraph, Member States shall deduct the amount necessary in order to exclude double funding of the practices referred to in Article 29 of Regulation (EU) No DP/xxxx.

In duly justified cases for operations concerning environmental conservation, support may be granted at a flat-rate or as a one-off payment per unit for commitments to renounce commercial use of areas, calculated on basis of additional costs incurred and income foregone.

7.  Where required, for ensuring the efficient application of the measure, Member States may use the procedure referred to in Article 49(3) for the selection of beneficiaries.

8.  Support shall be limited to the maximum amounts laid down in Annex I.

No support under this measure may be granted for commitments that are covered under the organic farming measure.

9.  Support may be provided for the conservation and for the sustainable use and development of genetic resources in agriculture for operations not covered by the provisions under paragraphs 1 to 8. Those commitments may be carried out by beneficiaries other than those referred to in paragraph 2.

10. In order to ensure that agri-environment-climate commitments are defined in line with the Union priorities for rural development, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning ▌, conditions applicable to commitments to extensify ▌ livestock farming, conditions applicable to commitments to rear local breeds in danger of being lost to farming or to preserve plant genetic resources under threat of genetic erosion as well as concerning the definition of eligible operations under paragraph 9. In order to ensure that double funding, as referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 6 is excluded, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 laying down the calculation method to be used, including in the case of equivalent measures under Article 29 of Regulation (EU) No […] [DP].

Article 30Organic farming

1.  Support under this measure shall be granted, per hectare of agricultural area, to farmers or groups of farmers who undertake, on a voluntary basis, to convert to or maintain organic farming practices and methods as defined in Council Regulation (EC) No 834/20073(44)9 and who comply with the definition of active farmers in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No …/2013 [DP].

2.  Support shall only be granted for commitments going beyond the relevant mandatory standards established pursuant to Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012, the relevant criteria and minimum activities as established pursuant to Article 4(1)(c) second and third indents respectively of Regulation (EU) No DP/2013, relevant minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products use as well as other relevant mandatory requirements established by national legislation. All such requirements shall be identified in the programme.

3.  Commitments under this measure shall be undertaken for a period of five to seven years. Where support is granted for conversion to organic farming Member States may determine a shorter initial period corresponding to the period of conversion. Where support is granted for the maintenance of organic farming, Member States may provide in their rural development programmes for annual extension after the termination of the initial period. For new commitments concerning maintenance directly following the commitment performed in the initial period, Member States may determine a shorter period in their rural development programmes.

4.  Payments shall be granted annually and shall compensate beneficiaries for all or part of the additional costs and income foregone resulting from the commitments made. Where necessary they may also cover transaction costs to a value of up to 20% of the premium paid for the commitments. Where commitments are undertaken by groups of farmers , the maximum level shall be 30%.

     When calculating the payments referred to in the first sub-paragraph, Member States shall deduct the amounts necessary in order to exclude double funding of the practices referred to in Article 29 of Regulation (EU) No DP/xxxx.

5.  Support shall be limited to the maximum amounts laid down in Annex I.

6.  In order to ensure that double funding, as referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 4 is excluded, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 laying down the calculation method to be used.

Article 31Natura 2000 and Water framework directive payments

1.  Support under this measure shall be granted annually and per hectare of agricultural area or per hectare of forest in order to compensate beneficiaries for additional costs ▌ and income foregone resulting from disadvantages in the areas concerned, related to the implementation of Council Directive 92/43/EEC4(45)0, Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council4(46)1and Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council4(47)2.

When calculating support under this measure, Member States shall deduct the amount necessary in order to exclude double funding of the practices referred to in Article 29 of Regulation (EU) No DP/xxxx.

2.  Support shall be granted to farmers and to private forest holders and associations of private forest holders . In duly justified cases it may also be granted to other land managers.

3.  Support to farmers, linked to Directives 92/43/EEC and 2009/147/EC shall only be granted in relation to disadvantages resulting from requirements that go beyond the good agricultural and environmental condition provided for in Article 94 and Annex II of Council Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 and the relevant criteria and minimum activities as established pursuant to Article 4(1)(c) second and third indents respectively of Regulation (EU) No DP/2013.

4.  Support to farmers, linked to Directive 2000/60/EC shall only be granted in relation to specific requirements that:

(a) were introduced by Directive 2000/60/EC, are in accordance with the programmes of measures of the river basin management plans for the purpose of achieving the environmental objectives of that Directive and go beyond the measures required to implement other Union legislation for the protection of water;

(b) go beyond the statutory management requirements and the good agricultural and environmental condition provided for in Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 and the relevant criteria and minimum activities as established pursuant to Article 4(1)(c) second and third indents respectively of Regulation (EU) No DP/2013;

(c) go beyond the level of protection of the Union legislation existing at the time Directive 2000/60/EC was adopted as laid down in Article 4(9) of Directive 2000/60/EC; and

(d) impose major changes in type of land use, and/or major restrictions in farming practice resulting in a significant loss of income.

5.  The requirements referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 shall be identified in the programme.

6.  The following areas shall be eligible for payments:

(a) Natura 2000 agricultural and forest areas designated pursuant to Directives 92/43/EEC and 2009/147/EC ;

(b) other delimited nature protection areas with environmental restrictions applicable to farming or forests which contribute to the implementation of Article 10 of Directive 92/43/EEC. These areas shall, per rural development programme, not exceed 5% of the designated Natura 2000 areas covered by its territorial scope;

(c) agricultural areas included in river basin management plans according to Directive 2000/60/EC.

7.  Support shall be limited to the maximum amounts laid down in Annex I.

8.  In order to ensure that double funding, as referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 1 is excluded, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 laying down the calculation method to be used.

Article 32Payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints

1.  Payments to farmers in mountain areas and other areas facing natural or other specific constraints shall be granted annually per hectare of agricultural area in order to compensate farmers for all or part of the additional costs and income foregone related to the constraints for agricultural production in the area concerned.

Additional costs and income foregone shall be calculated in comparison to areas which are not affected by natural or other specific constraints, taking into account payments pursuant to Chapter 3 of Title III of Regulation (EU) No DP/2012.

When calculating additional costs and income foregone, Member States may, where duly justified, differentiate the level of payment taking into account:

- the severity of the identified permanent constraint affecting farming activities;

- the farming system.

2.  Payments shall be granted to farmers who undertake to pursue their farming activity in the areas designated pursuant to Article 33 and who comply with the definition of active farmers in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No …/2013 [DP].

3.  Payments shall be fixed between the minimum and maximum amount laid down in Annex I. These payments may be increased in duly substantiated cases taking into account specific circumstances to be justified in the rural development programmes.

4.  Member States shall provide for degressivity of payments above a threshold level of area per holding, to be defined in the programme except if the grant only covers the minimum payment per ha per year as laid down in Annex I.

In case of a legal person, or a group of natural or legal persons, Member States may apply the degressivity of payments at the level of the members of these legal persons or groups where national law provides for the individual members to assume rights and obligations comparable to those of individual farmers who have the status of head of holding, in particular as regards their economic, social and tax status, provided that they have contributed to strengthening the agricultural structures of the legal persons or groups concerned.

5.  In addition to the payments provided for in paragraph 2, Member States may grant payments under this measure between 2014 and 2020 to beneficiaries in areas which were eligible under Article 36(a)(ii) of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 during the 2007-2013 programming period. For beneficiaries in areas that are no longer eligible following the new delimitation referred to in Article 33(3), those payments shall be degressive over a period of a maximum of four years starting on the date the delimitation in accordance with Article 33(3) is completed and at the latest in 2018 at no more than 80% of the average payment fixed in the programme for the programming period 2007-2013 in accordance with Article 36(a)(ii), and ending in 2020 at the latest at no more than 20%. When the level of the payment reaches 25 EUR due to degressivity, the Member State can continue payments at this level until the phasing out period is completed.

▌Following completion of the delimitation, beneficiaries in the areas that remain eligible shall receive full payment under this measure.

Article 33Designation of areas facing natural and other specific constraints

1.  Member States shall, on the basis of paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, designate areas eligible for payments provided for in Article 32 under the following categories:

(a) mountain areas;

(b) areas, other than mountain areas, facing significant natural constraints; and

(c) other areas affected by specific constraints.

2.  In order to be eligible for payments under Article 32, mountain areas shall be characterized by a considerable limitation of the possibilities for using the land and by an appreciable increase in production costs due to:

(a) the existence, because of altitude, of very difficult climatic conditions, the effect of which is substantially to shorten the growing season;

(b) at a lower altitude, the presence over the greater part of the area in question of slopes too steep for the use of machinery or requiring the use of very expensive special equipment, or a combination of these two factors, where the constraints resulting from each taken separately are less acute but the combination of the two gives rise to an equivalent constraints.

Areas north of the 62ndparallel and certain adjacent areas shall be regarded as mountain areas.

3.  In order to be eligible for payments under Article 32, areas, other than mountain areas, shall be considered as facing significant natural constraints if, at least 60% of the agricultural area meets at least one of the criteria listed in Annex II at the threshold value indicated.

Respect of those conditions shall be ensured at the ▌ level of local administrative ▌units ("LAU 2" level) or at the level of a clearly delineated local unit which covers a single clear contiguous geographical area with a definable economic and administrative identity.

When delimiting the areas concerned by this paragraph, Member States shall undertake a fine-tuning exercise, based on objective criteria, with the purpose of excluding areas in which significant natural constraints, in accordance with the first subparagraph have been documented but have been overcome by investments or by, economic activity, or by evidence of normal land productivity, or if production methods or farming systems offset the income loss or added costs referred to in Article 32(1).

4.  Areas other than those referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3 shall be eligible for payments under Article 32 if they are affected by specific constraints and where land management should be continued in order to conserve or improve the environment, maintain the countryside and preserve the tourist potential of the area or in order to protect the coastline.

Areas affected by specific constraints shall comprise farming areas within which ▌ the ▌ natural production conditions are similar and their total extent shall not exceed 10% of the area of the Member State concerned.

In addition, areas may also be eligible for payments under this paragraph, where:

- at least 60% of the agricultural area meets at least two of the criteria listed in Annex II each within a margin of not more than 20% of the threshold value indicated, or

- at least 60% of the agricultural area is composed of areas meeting at least one of the criteria listed in Annex II at the threshold value indicated, and areas meeting at least two of the criteria listed in Annex II each within a margin of not more than 20% of the threshold value indicated.

Respect of these conditions shall be ensured at LAU2 level or at the level of a clearly delineated local unit which covers a single clear contiguous geographical area with a definable economic and administrative identity. When delimiting areas concerned by this subparagraph, Member States shall undertake a fine-tuning exercise as described in Article 33(3). Areas considered eligible pursuant to this subparagraph, shall be taken into account for calculating the 10% limit referred to in the second subparagraph.

By way of derogation, the first sub-paragraph shall not apply to Member States the entire territory of which was considered as an area facing specific handicaps under Regulations 1698/2005 and 1257/1999.

5.  Member States shall attach to their rural development programmes:

(a) the existing or amended delimitation pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 4;

(b) the new delimitation of the areas referred to in paragraph 3.

Article 34Animal welfare

1.  Animal welfare payments under this measure shall be granted to farmers who undertake, on a voluntary basis, to carry out operations consisting of one or more animal welfare commitments and who comply with the definition of active farmers in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No …/2013 [DP].

2.  Animal welfare payments cover only those commitments going beyond the relevant mandatory standards established pursuant to Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 and other relevant mandatory requirements ▌. These relevant requirements shall be identified in the programme.

Those commitments shall be undertaken for a renewable period of one to seven years.

3.  The ▌ payments shall be granted annually and shall compensate farmers for all or part of the additional costs and income foregone resulting from the commitment made. Where necessary, they may also cover transaction costs to the value of up to 20% of the premium paid for the animal welfare commitments.

Support shall be limited to the maximum amount laid down in Annex I.

4.  In order to ensure that animal welfare commitments are in line with the overall Union policy in this field, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the definition of the areas in which animal welfare commitments shall provide upgraded standards of production methods.

Article 35Forest-environmental and climate services and forest conservation

1.  Support under this measure shall be granted per hectare of forest to public and private forest -holders and other private law and public bodies ▌and their associations who undertake, on a voluntary basis, to carry out operations consisting of one or more forest-environment commitments. In the case of state owned forests, support may only be granted if the body managing such a forest is a private body or a municipality.

For forest holdings above a certain threshold to be determined by Member States in their rural development programmes, support under paragraph 1 shall be conditional on the ▌ presentation of the relevant information from a forest management plan or equivalent instrument in line with sustainable forest management as defined by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe of 1993.

2.  Payments shall cover only those commitments going beyond the relevant mandatory requirements established by the national forestry act or other relevant national legislation. All such requirements shall be identified in the programme.

Commitments shall be undertaken for a period of between five and seven years. However, where necessary and duly justified, Member States may determine a longer period in their rural development programmes for particular types of commitments.

3.  Payments shall compensate beneficiaries for all or part of the additional costs and income foregone resulting from the commitments made. Where necessary they may also cover transaction costs to a value of up to 20% of the premium paid for the forest-environment commitments. Support shall be limited to the maximum amount laid down in Annex I.

In duly justified cases for operations concerning environmental conservation, support may be granted as a flat-rate or one-off payment per unit for commitments to renounce commercial use of trees and forests, calculated on basis of additional costs incurred and income foregone.

4.  Support may be provided to public and private entities ▌for the conservation and promotion of forest genetic resources for operations not covered under paragraphs 1, 2 and 3.

5.  In order to ensure the efficient use of EAFRD budgetary resources, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the types of operations eligible for support under paragraph 4.

Article 36Co-operation

1.  Support under this measure shall be granted in order to promote forms of co-operation involving at least two entities and in particular:

(a) co-operation approaches among different actors in the Union agriculture sector, food chain and forestry sector and ▌ other actors that contribute to achieving the objectives and priorities of rural development policy, including producer groups, cooperatives and inter-branch organisations;

(b) the creation of clusters and networks;

(c) the establishment and operation of operational groups of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability as referred to in Article 62.

2.  Co-operation under paragraph 1 shall relate, in particular, to the following:

(a) pilot projects;

(b) the development of new products, practices, processes and technologies in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors;

(c) co-operation among small operators in organising joint work processes and sharing facilities and resources and for the development and/or marketing of tourism services relating to rural tourism;

(d) horizontal and vertical co-operation among supply chain actors for the establishment and development of short supply chains and local markets;

(e) promotion activities in a local context relating to the development of short supply chains and local markets;

(f)  joint action undertaken with a view to mitigating or adapting to climate change;

(g) joint approaches to environmental projects and ongoing environmental practices, including efficient water management, the use of renewable energy and the preservation of agricultural landscapes;

(h) horizontal and vertical co-operation among supply chain actors in the sustainable provision of biomass for use in food and energy production and industrial processes▌;

(i)  implementation, in particular by groups of public and private partners ▌other than those defined in Article 28(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012], of local development strategies other than those defined in Article 2(16) of Regulation (EU) No [CPR] addressing one or more of the Union priorities for rural development;

(j)  drawing up of forest management plans or equivalent instruments.

(ja) diversification of farming activities into activities concerning health care, social integration, community-supported agriculture and education about the environment and food.

3.  Support under point (b) of paragraph 1 ▌shall be granted only to newly formed clusters and networks and those commencing an activity that is new to them.

Support for operations under points (a) and (b) of paragraph 2 ▌may be granted also to individual actors where this possibility is provided for in the rural development programme.

4.  The results of pilot projects under point (a) of paragraph 2 and operations under point (b) of paragraph 2 carried out by individual actors as provided for in paragraph 3 shall be disseminated.

5.  The following costs, linked to the forms of co-operation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be eligible for support under this measure:

(a) studies of the area concerned, feasibility studies, and ▌ the drawing up of a business plan or a forest management plan or equivalent ▌ or a local development strategy other than the one referred to in Article 29 of Regulation EU (No) [CSF/2012];

(b) animation of the area concerned in order to make feasible a collective territorial project or a project to be carried out by an operational group of the EIP for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability as referred to in Article 62. In the case of clusters, animation may also concern the organisation of training, networking between members and the recruitment of new members;

(c) running costs of the co-operation;

(d) direct costs of specific projects linked to the implementation of a business plan an environmental plan, a forest management plan or equivalent, a local development strategy other than the one referred to in Article 29 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] or other actions targeted towards innovation, including testing;

(e)  ▌promotion activities.

6.  Where a business plan or an environmental plan or a forest management plan or equivalent or a development strategy is implemented, Member States may grant the aid either as a global amount covering the costs of co-operation and the costs of the projects implemented or cover only the costs of the co- operation and use funds from other measures or other Union Funds for project implementation.

Where support is paid as a global amount and the project implemented is of a type covered under another measure of this regulation, the relevant maximum amount or rate of support shall apply.

7.  Co-operation among actors located in different regions or Member States shall also be eligible for support.

8.  Support shall be limited to a maximum period of seven years except for collective environmental action in duly justified cases.

9.  Co-operation under this measure may be combined with projects supported by Union funds other than the EAFRD in the same territory. Member States shall ensure that overcompensation as a result of the combination of this measure with other national or Union support instruments is avoided.

10. In order to ensure the efficient use of EAFRD budgetary resources, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the further specification of the characteristics of pilot projects, clusters, networks, short supply chains and local markets that will be eligible for support, as well as concerning the conditions for granting aid to the types of operation listed in paragraph 2.

Article 37Risk management

1.  Support under this measure shall cover:

(a) financial contributions ▌to premiums for crop, animal and plant insurance against economic losses to farmers caused by adverse climatic events, animal or plant diseases ▌, pest infestation, or an environmental incident;

(b) financial contributions to mutual funds to pay financial compensations to farmers, for economic losses caused by adverse climatic events or by the outbreak of an animal or plant disease or pest infestation or an environmental incident;

(c) an income stabilisation tool, in the form of financial contributions to mutual funds, providing compensation to farmers for a severe drop in their income.

1a. For the purposes of this article, "farmer" means active farmer within the meaning of Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No …2013 [DP].

2.  For the purpose of ▌points (b) and (c) of paragraph 1 , ‘mutual fund’ means a scheme accredited by the Member State in accordance with its national law for affiliated farmers to insure themselves, whereby compensation payments are made to affiliated farmers for economic losses caused by the outbreak of adverse climatic events or an animal or plant disease or pest infestation or an environmental incident, or for a severe drop in their income.

3.  Member States shall ensure that overcompensation as a result of the combination of this measure with other national or Union support instruments or private insurance schemes is avoided. ▌

4.  In order to ensure the efficient use of EAFRD budgetary resource, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the minimum and maximum duration of the commercial loans to mutual funds referred to in Articles 39(3)(b) and 40(4).

The Commission shall present a report on the implementation of this Article to the European Parliament and the Council not later than 31 December 2018.

Article 38Crop, animal, and plant insurance

1.  Support under Article 37(1)(a) shall only be granted for insurance contracts which cover for loss caused by an adverse climatic event, or by an animal or plant disease, or a pest infestation, or an environmental incident or a measure adopted in accordance with Directive 2000/29/EC to eradicate or contain a plant disease, or pest which destroys more than 30 % of the average annual production of the farmer in the preceding three-year period or a three-year average based on the preceding five-year period, excluding the highest and lowest entry. Indexes may be used in order to calculate the annual production of the farmer. The calculation method used shall permit the determination of the actual loss of an individual farmer in a given year.

     The measurement of the extent of the loss caused may be tailored to the specific characteristics of each type of product using:

(a) biological indexes (quantity of biomass loss) or equivalent yield loss indexes established at farm, local, regional or national level, or

(b) weather indexes (including quantity of rainfall and temperature) established at local, regional or national level.

2.  The occurrence of an adverse climatic event or the outbreak of an animal or plant disease or pest infestation or an environmental incident has to be formally recognised as such by the competent authority of the Member State concerned.

Member States may, where appropriate, establish in advance criteria on the basis of which such formal recognition shall be deemed to be granted.

2a. As regards animal diseases, financial compensation under Article 37(1)(a) may only be granted in respect of diseases mentioned in the list of animal diseases established by the World Organisation for Animal Health and/or in the Annex to Decision 2009/470/EC.

3.  Insurance payments shall compensate for not more than the total of the cost of replacing the losses referred to in Article 37(1)(a) and shall not require or specify the type or quantity of future production.

Member States may limit the amount of the premium that is eligible for support by applying appropriate ceilings.

4.  Support shall be limited to the maximum rate laid down in Annex I.

Article 39Mutual funds for

adverse climatic events, animal and plant diseases, pest infestations and environmental incidents

1.  In order to be eligible for support the mutual fund concerned shall:

(a) be accredited by the competent authority in accordance with national law;

(b) have a transparent policy towards payments into and withdrawals from the fund;

(c) have clear rules attributing responsibilities for any debts incurred.

2.  Member States shall define the rules for the constitution and management of the mutual funds, in particular for the granting of compensation payments and the eligibility of farmers in the event of crisis, as well as for the administration and monitoring of compliance with these rules. Member States shall ensure that the fund arrangements provide for penalties in case of negligence on the part of the farmer.

The occurrence of incidents mentioned in Article 37(1)(b) must be formally recognised as such by the competent authority of the Member State concerned.

3.  The financial contributions referred to in Article 37(1)(b) may only relate to:

(a) the administrative costs of setting up the mutual fund, spread over a maximum of three years in a degressive manner ;

(b) the amounts paid by the mutual fund as financial compensation to farmers. In addition, the financial contribution may relate to interest on commercial loans taken out by the mutual fund for the purpose of paying the financial compensation to farmers in case of crisis.

Support under Article 37(1)(b) shall only be granted to cover for loss caused by the outbreak of adverse climatic events, an animal or plant disease, a pest infestation, or a measure adopted in accordance with Directive 2000/29/EC to eradicate or contain a plant disease or pest or an environmental incident, which destroy more than 30 % of the average annual production of the farmer in the preceding three-year period or a three-year average based on the preceding five-year period, excluding the highest and lowest entry. Indexes may be used in order to calculate the annual production of the farmer. The calculation method used shall permit the determination of the actual loss of an individual farmer in a given year.

No contribution by public funds shall be made to initial capital stock.

4.  As regards animal diseases, financial compensation under Article 37(1)(b) may ▌be granted in respect of diseases mentioned in the list of animal diseases established by the World Organisation for Animal Health and/or in the Annex to Decision 2009/470/EC.

5.  Support shall be limited to the maximum support rate laid down in Annex I.

Member States may limit the costs that are eligible for support by applying:

(a) ceilings per fund;

(b) appropriate per unit ceilings.

Article 40Income stabilisation tool

1.  Support under Article 37(1)(c) shall only be granted where the drop of income exceeds 30% of the average annual income of the individual farmer in the preceding three-year period or a three-year average based on the preceding five-year period excluding the highest and lowest entry. Income for the purposes of Article 37(1)(c) shall refer to the sum of revenues the farmer receives from the market, including any form of public support, deducting input costs. Payments by the mutual fund to farmers shall compensate for less than 70% of the income lost in the year the producer becomes eligible to receive this assistance.

2.  In order to be eligible for support the mutual fund concerned shall:

(a) be accredited by the competent authority in accordance with national law;

(b) have a transparent policy towards payments into and withdrawals from the fund;

(c) have clear rules attributing responsibilities for any debts incurred.

3.  Member States shall define the rules for the constitution and management of the mutual funds, in particular for the granting of compensation payments to farmers in the event of crisis and for the administration and monitoring of compliance with these rules. Member States shall ensure that the fund arrangements provide for penalties in case of negligence on the part of the farmer.

4.  The financial contributions referred to in Article 37(1)(c) may only relate to :

(a) the administrative costs of setting up the mutual fund, spread over a maximum of three years in a degressive manner;

(b) the amounts paid by the mutual fund as financial compensation to farmers. In addition, the financial contribution may relate to interest on commercial loans taken out by the mutual fund for the purpose of paying the financial compensation to farmers in case of crisis. No contribution by public funds shall be made to initial capital stock.

5.  Support shall be limited to the maximum rate laid down in Annex I.

Article 40aFinancing of complementary national direct payments for

Croatia

1.  Support may be granted to farmers eligible for complementary national direct payments under Article 17a of Regulation (EU) No [DP/2012]. The conditions laid down in that Article shall also apply to the support to be granted under this Article.

2.  The support granted to a farmer in respect of the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 shall not exceed the difference between:

(a) the level of direct payments applicable in Croatia for the year concerned in accordance with Article 16a of Regulation (EU) No [DP/2012]; and

(b) 45 % of the corresponding level of the direct payments as applied from 2022.

3.  The Union contribution to support granted under this Article in Croatia in respect of the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 shall not exceed 20 % of its respective total annual EAFRD allocation.

4.  The EAFRD contribution rate for the complements to direct payments shall not exceed 80%.

Article 41Rules on the implementation of the measures

The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, adopt rules on the implementation of the measures in this section concerning:

(a) procedures for selection of authorities or bodies offering farm and forestry advisory services, farm management or farm relief services and the degressivity of the aid under the advisory services measure referred to in Article 16 ;

(b) the assessment by the Member State of the progress of the business plan, payment options as well as modalities for access to other measures for young farmers under the farm and business development measure referred to in Article 20;

(c)  ▌conversion to units other than those used in Annex I, ▌ and conversion rates of animals to livestock units (LU) under the measures referred to in Articles 29, 30, 34 and 35;

(d) the possibility of using standard assumptions of additional costs and income foregone under the measures of Articles 29 to 32, 34 and 35 and criteria for its calculation;

(e) calculation of the amount of support where an operation is eligible for support under more than one measures.

These implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

Section 2

Leader

Article 424(48)3

LEADER local action groups

1.  In addition to the tasks referred to in Article 30 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] local action groups may also perform additional tasks delegated to them by the Managing Authority and/or the paying agency.

2.  Local action groups may request the payment of an advance from the competent paying agency if such possibility is provided for in the rural development programme. The amount of the advances shall not exceed 50% of the public support related to the running and animation costs.

Article 43 4(49)4

LEADER start-up kit

Support for LEADER local development may also include a "LEADER start-up kit" for local communities who did not implement LEADER in the 2007-13 programming period. The "LEADER start-up kit" shall consist of support for capacity building and small pilot projects. Support under the Leader start-up kit shall not be conditional on the submission of a LEADER local development strategy.

Article 444(50)5

LEADER co-operation activities

1.  The support referred to in [Article 31(c) of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012]] shall be granted to ▌

(a)  ▌co-operation projects ▌ within a Member State (inter-territorial ▌co-operation) or co-operation projects between territories in several Member States or with territories in third countries (transnational co-operation).

(b) preparatory technical support for inter-territorial and transnational co-operation projects, on condition that local action groups can demonstrate that they are envisaging the implementation of a concrete project.

2.  Apart from other local action groups, the partners of a local action group under the EAFRD may be:

(a) a group of local public and private partners in a rural territory that is implementing a local development strategy within or outside the Union;

(b) a group of local public and private partners in a non- rural territory that is implementing a local development strategy.

3.  In cases where co-operation projects are not selected by the local action groups, Member States shall establish a system of ongoing application ▌.

They shall make public the national or regional administrative procedures concerning the selection of transnational co-operation projects and a list of eligible costs at the latest two years after the date of approval of their rural development programmes.

Approval of co-operation projects by the competent authority shall take place no later than four months after the date of submission of the project.

4.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission the approved transnational co-operation projects.

Chapter II

Common provisions for several measures

Article 46Investments

1.  In order to be eligible for EAFRD support investment operations shall be preceded by an assessment of the expected environmental impact in accordance with legislation specific to that kind of investment where the investment is likely to have negative effects on the environment.

2.  Eligible expenditure shall be limited to:

(a) the construction, acquisition, including leasing, or improvement of immovable property;

(b) the purchase or lease purchase of new machinery and equipment up to the market value of the asset;

(c) general costs linked to expenditure referred to in points (a) and (b), such as architect, engineer and consultation fees, fees relating to advice on environmental and economic sustainability , including feasibility studies. Feasibility studies shall remain eligible expenditure even where, based on their results, no expenditure under points (a) and (b) is made;

(ca)           the following intangible investments: acquisition or development of computer software and acquisitions of patents, licenses, copyrights, trademarks;

(cb)           the costs of establishing forest management plans and their equivalent.

3.   ▌In the case of irrigation in new and existing irrigated areas, only investments that fulfil the following conditions shall be considered as eligible expenditure:

(a) a river basin management plan, as required under the terms of Directive 2000/60/EC, shall have been notified to the Commission for the entire area in which the investment is to take place, as well as in any other areas whose environment may be affected by the investment. The measures taking effect under the river basin management plan in accordance with Article 11 of that Directive and of relevance to the agricultural sector shall have been specified in the relevant programme of measures.

(b) water metering enabling measurement of water use at the level of the supported investment shall be in place or shall be put in place as part of the investment.

(c) an investment in an improvement to an existing irrigation installation or element of irrigation infrastructure shall be eligible only if it is assessed ex-ante as offering potential water savings of a minimum of between 5 % and 25 % according to the technical parameters of the existing installation or infrastructure.

If the investment affects bodies of ground- or surface water whose status has been identified as less than good in the relevant river basin management plan for reasons related to water quantity:

(i)  the investment shall ensure an effective reduction in water use, at the level of the investment, amounting to at least 50 % of the potential water saving made possible by the investment;

(ii)        in the case of an investment on a single agricultural holding, it shall also result in a reduction to the holding's total water use amounting to at least 50% of the potential water saving made possible at the level of the investment. The total water use of the holding shall include water sold by the holding.

None of the conditions of point (c) shall apply to an investment in an existing installation which affects only energy efficiency or to an investment in the creation of a reservoir or to an investment in the use of recycled water which does not affect a body of ground or surface water.

d)  an investment resulting in a net increase of the irrigated area affecting a given body of ground or surface water shall be eligible only if :

(i) the status of the water body has not been identified as less than good in the relevant river basin management plan for reasons related to water quantity; and

(ii) an environmental analysis shows that there will be no significant negative environmental impact from the investment; such an environmental impact analysis shall be either carried out by or approved by the competent authority and may also refer to groups of holdings.

Areas which are not irrigated but in which an irrigation installation was active in the recent past, to be established and justified in the programme, may be considered as irrigated areas for the purpose of determining the net increase of the irrigated area.

By way of derogation from sub-paragraph (i), investments resulting in a net increase of the irrigated area may still be eligible if:

- the investment is combined with an investment in an existing irrigation installation or element of irrigation infrastructure assessed ex-ante as offering potential water savings of a minimum of between 5 % and 25 % according to the technical parameters of the existing installation or infrastructure and

- the investment ensures an effective reduction in water use, at the level of the investment as a whole, amounting to at least 50 % of the potential water saving made possible by the investment in the existing irrigation installation or element of infrastructure.

Furthermore, by way of derogation, the condition of sub-paragraph d(i) shall not apply to investments in the establishment of a new irrigation installation supplied with water from an existing reservoir approved by the competent authorities before 31 October 2013 if the following conditions are met:

- the reservoir in question is identified in the relevant river basin management plan and is subject to the control requirements set out in article 11(3)(e) of Directive 2000/60/EC;

- on 31 October 2013, there was in force either a maximum limit on total abstractions from the reservoir or a minimum required level of flow in water bodies affected by the reservoir;

- that maximum limit or minimum required level of flow complies with the conditions set out in article 4 of Directive 2000/60/EC; and

- the investment in question does not result in abstractions beyond the maximum limit in force on 31 October 2013 or result in a reduction of the level of flow in affected water bodies below the minimum required level in force on 31 October 2013.

4.  In the case of agricultural investments, the purchase of agricultural production rights, payment entitlements, animals, annual plants and their planting shall not be eligible for investment support. However, in case of restoration of agricultural production potential damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events in accordance with Article 19(1)(b), expenditure for the purchase of animals may be eligible expenditure.

5.  Beneficiaries of investment related support may request the payment of an advance of up to 50% of the public aid related to the investment from the competent paying agencies if that option is included in the rural development programme.

5a. Working capital that is ancillary and linked to a new investment in the agriculture or forestry sector, which receives EAFRD support through a financial instrument established in accordance with Article 32 of Regulation [CPR/2013], may be eligible expenditure. Eligible expenditure under this paragraph shall not exceed 30% of the total amount of the eligible expenditure for the investment. The relevant request shall be duly substantiated.

6.  In order to take account of specificities relating to particular types of investments, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the conditions under which other costs connected with leasing contracts, second hand equipment ▌may be considered as eligible expenditure and the definition of the types of renewable energy infrastructure that shall be eligible for support.

Article 47Rules for area related payments

1.  The number of hectares to which a commitment pursuant to Articles 29, 30 and 35 applies may vary from year to year where:

(a)  this possibility is provided for in the rural development programme;

(b)  the commitment in question does not apply to fixed parcels; and

(c)  the achievement of the commitment's objective is not jeopardised.

2.  Where all or part of the land under commitment or the entire holding is transferred to another person during the period for which a commitment given as a condition for the grant of assistance runs, the commitment or part of the commitment corresponding to the land transferred may be taken over for the remainder of the period by that other person or expire and reimbursement shall not be required in respect of the period during which the commitment was effective.

3.  Where a beneficiary is unable to continue to comply with commitments given because the holding or part of the holding is re-parcelled or is the subject of public land consolidation measures or land consolidation measures approved by the competent public authorities, Member States shall take the measures necessary to allow the commitments to be adapted to the new situation of the holding. If such adaptation proves impossible, the commitment shall expire and reimbursement shall not be required in respect of the period during which the commitment was effective.

4.  Reimbursement of the aid received shall not be required in cases of force majeure and exceptional circumstances as referred to in Article 2 of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012.

5.  Paragraph 2, as regards cases of transfer of the entire holding, and paragraph 4 shall also apply to commitments under Article 34.

6.  In order to ensure the efficient implementation of area related measures and secure the financial interests of the Union, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning conditions applicable to conversion or adjustment of commitments under the measures referred to in Articles 29, 30, 34 and 35 and , the definition of other situations in which reimbursement of the aid shall not be required.

Article 48Revision clause

A revision clause shall be provided for operations undertaken pursuant to Articles 29, 30, 34 and 35 in order to ensure their adjustment in the case of amendments of the relevant mandatory standards, requirements or obligations referred to in those Articles beyond which the commitments have to go. This clause shall also cover adjustments needed to avoid double funding of the practices referred to in Article 29 of Regulation (EU) No DP/xxxx in case of amendment of the latter. Operations undertaken pursuant to Articles 29, 30, 34 and 35 which extend beyond the current programming period shall contain a revision clause in order to allow for their adjustment to the legal framework of the following programming period.

If such adjustment is not accepted by the beneficiary, the commitment shall expire and reimbursement shall not be required in respect of the period during which the commitment was effective.

Article 49

▌Selection of operations

1.  Without prejudice to Article 30(3)(d) of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012],the Managing Authority of the rural development programme shall define selection criteria for operations under all measures following consultation with the Monitoring Committee. Selection criteria shall aim to ensure equal treatment of applicants, better use of financial resources and targeting of measures in accordance with the Union priorities for rural development. In defining and applying selection criteria the principle of proportionality shall be taken into account in relation to the size of the operation .

2.  The Member State authority responsible for selection of operations shall, with the exception of operations under Articles 29 to 32, 34 to 35 and 37 to 40, ensure that operations are selected in accordance with the selection criteria referred to in paragraph 1 and according to a transparent and well documented procedure. ▌

3.  Where appropriate, the beneficiaries may be selected on the basis of calls for proposals, applying criteria of economic and environmental efficiency.

Article 50Rural area definition

For the purposes of this Regulation the Managing Authority shall define "rural area" at programme level. Member states may establish such a definition for a measure or type of operation if duly justified.

Chapter III

Technical assistance and networking

Article 51Funding technical assistance

1.  In accordance with Article 6 of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 the EAFRD may use up to 0,25% of its annual allocation to finance the tasks referred to in Article 51 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012], including the costs for setting up and operating the European network for rural development referred to in Article 52 and the EIP network referred to in Article 53 ▌ at the Commission's initiative and/or on its behalf.

The EAFRD may also finance the actions provided for in Article 41(2) of Regulation (EU) No XXXX/XXXX [quality regulation], in relation to Union quality scheme indications and symbols.

Those actions shall be carried out in accordance with Article 58 of Regulation (EU, EURATOM) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council4(51)6 and any other provisions of that Regulation and of its implementing provisions applicable to this form of execution of the budget.

3.  At the initiative of the Member States up to 4% of the total amount of each rural development programme may be devoted to the tasks referred to in Article 52 of Regulation (EC) No [CSF/2012], as well as costs related to preparatory work for the delimitation of areas facing natural or other specific constraints referred to in Article 33 ▌.

Costs relating to the certification body referred to in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 shall not be eligible under this paragraph.

Within the 4% limit an amount shall be reserved for establishing and operating the national rural network referred to in Article 55.

4a. In case of rural development programmes covering both less developed regions and other regions, the EAFRD contribution rate for technical assistance referred to in Article 65(3) may be determined taking into account the predominant type of regions, by their number, in the programme.

Article 52European network for rural development

1.  A European network for rural development for the networking of national networks, organisations, and administrations active in the field of rural development at Union level shall be put in place in accordance with Article 51(1).

2.  Networking through the European network for rural development shall aim to:

(a) increase the involvement of all stakeholders, in particular agricultural, forestry and other rural development stakeholders in the implementation of rural development ▌;

(b) improve the quality of rural development programmes ▌;

(c) play a role in informing the broader public on the benefits of rural development policy.

(d) support the evaluation of rural development programmes.

3.  The tasks of the network shall be to:

(a) collect, analyse and disseminate information on action in the field of rural development;

(ab)           provide support on evaluation processes and on data collection and management;

(b) collect, consolidate and disseminate at Union level good rural development practices ▌, including on evaluation methodologies and tools;

(c) set up and run thematic groups and/or workshops with a view to facilitating the exchange of expertise and to supporting implementation and monitoring and further development of rural development policy;

(d) provide information on developments in the rural areas of the Union and in third countries;

(e)  organise meetings and seminars at Union level for those actively involved in rural development;

(f)  support the national networks and transnational co-operation initiatives and the exchange on actions and experience in the field of rural development with networks in third countries;

(g) specifically for local action groups:

(i)  create synergies with the activities carried out on national and/or regional level by the respective networks with regard to capacity building actions and exchange of experience; and

(ii) cooperate with the networking and technical support bodies for local development set up by the ERDF, the ESF and the EMFF as regards their local development activities and transnational co-operation.

4.  The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, set out the organisational structure and operation of the European network for rural development network. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

Article 53EIP network

1.  A EIP network shall be put in place to support the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability referred to in Article 61, in accordance with Article 51(1). It shall enable the networking of operational groups, advisory services and researchers.

1a. The aim of the EIP network shall be to:

(a) facilitate the exchange of expertise and good practices;

(b) establish a dialogue between farmers and the research community and facilitate the inclusion of all stakeholders in the knowledge exchange process.

2.  The tasks of the EIP network shall be to:

(a) provide a help desk function and provide information to key actors concerning the EIP;

(b) encourage the setting up of operational groups and to provide information about the opportunities provided by Union policies;

(ba)           facilitate the setting up of cluster initiatives and pilot or demonstration projects which may, among others, concern:

(i)  increased agricultural productivity, economic viability, sustainability, output and resource efficiency;

(ii) innovation in support of the bio-based economy;

(iii)      biodiversity, ecosystem services, soil functionality and sustainable water management;

(iv) innovative products and services for the integrated supply chain;

(v) opening up new product and market opportunities for primary producers;

(vi) food quality, food safety and healthy diet;

(vii)     reduce post-harvest losses and food wastage.

(e)  Collect and disseminate information in the field of the EIP, including research findings and new technologies relevant to innovation and knowledge exchange and exchanges in the field of innovation with third countries.

3.  The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, set out the organisational structure and operation of the EIP network. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

Article 55National rural network

1.  Each Member State shall establish a national rural network, which groups the organisations and administrations involved in rural development. The partnership referred to in Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] shall also be part of the national rural network.

Member States with regional programmes may submit for approval a specific programme for the establishment and the operation of their national rural network.

2.  Networking by the national rural network shall aim to:

(a) increase the involvement of stakeholders in the implementation of rural development;

(b) improve the quality of implementation of rural development programmes;

(c) inform the broader public and potential beneficiaries on rural development policy and funding opportunities;

(d) foster innovation in agriculture, food production, forestry and rural areas.

3.  EAFRD support under Article 51(3) shall be used:

(a) for the structures needed to run the network;

(b) for the preparation and implementation of an action plan containing at least the following:

(iii)      share and disseminate monitoring and evaluation findings;

(iv) provision of networking activities for advisors and innovation support services;

(v) collection of examples of projects covering all priorities of the rural development programmes;

(vii)      provision of training and networking activities for local action groups and in particular technical assistance for inter-territorial and transnational co-operation, facilitation of co-operation among local action groups and the search of partners for the measure referred to in Article 36;

(viii)     facilitation of thematic and analytical exchanges between rural development stakeholders, sharing and dissemination of findings;

(x) a communication plan including publicity and information concerning the rural development programme in agreement with the Managing Authorities and information and communication activities aimed at a broader public;

(xi) provision to participate in and contribute to the activities of the European rural development network. ▌

4.  The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, adopt rules for the establishment and operation of national rural networks and laying down the content of the specific programmes referred to in paragraph 1. ▌Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

TITLE IV

EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability

Article 61Aims

1.  The EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability shall:

(a) promote a resource efficient, economically viable, productive, competitive, low emission, climate friendly and resilient agricultural and forestry sector, progressing towards agro-ecological production systems and working in harmony with the essential natural resources on which farming and forestry depend;

(b) help deliver a steady and sustainable supply of food, feed and biomaterials, both existing and new ones;

(c) improve processes to preserve the environment, adapt to climate change and mitigate it;

(d) build bridges between cutting-edge research knowledge and technology and farmers, forest managers, rural communities, businesses, NGOs and advisory services.

2.  The EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability shall seek to achieve its aims by:

(a) creating added value by better linking research and farming practice and encouraging the wider use of available innovation measures;

(b) promoting the faster and wider transposition of innovative solutions into practice; and

(c) informing the scientific community about the research needs of farming practice.

3.  The EAFRD shall contribute to the aims of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability through support, in accordance with Article 36, of the EIP operational groups referred to in Article 62 and the EIP Network referred to in Article 53.

Article 62Operational groups

1.  EIP operational groups shall form part of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability. They shall be set up by interested actors such as farmers, researchers, advisors and businesses involved in the agriculture and food sector, who are relevant for achieving the objectives of the EIP.

2.  EIP operational groups shall establish internal procedures that ensure, transparency in their operation and decision-making and avoid situations of conflict of interest.

3.  The Member States shall decide within the framework of their programmes to what extent they will support the operational groups.

Article 63

Tasks of operational groups

1.  EIP operational groups shall draw up a plan that contains the following:

(a) a description of the innovative project to be developed, tested, adapted or implemented;

(b) a description of the expected results and the contribution to the EIP objective of enhancing productivity and sustainable resource management.

2.  In implementing their innovative projects operational groups shall:

(a) make decisions on the elaboration and implementation of innovative actions; and

(b) implement innovative actions through measures financed through the rural development programmes.

3.  Operational groups shall disseminate the results of their project, in particular through the EIP network.

TITLE V

Financial provisions

Article 64Resources and their distribution

1.  Without prejudice to paragraphs 4a, 5 and 5a of this article, the total amount of Union support for rural development under this Regulation for the period from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2020 shall be EUR 84 936 million, in 2011 prices, in accordance with the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014 to 2020.

2.  0,25% of the resources referred to in paragraph 1 shall be devoted to technical assistance for the Commission as referred to in Article 51(1).

3.  For the purpose of their programming and subsequent inclusion in the general budget of the Union, the amounts referred to in paragraph 1 shall be indexed at 2% per year.

4.  The ▌ annual breakdown by Member State of the amounts referred to in paragraph 1, after deduction of the amount referred to in paragraph 2 is set out in Annex Ia.

(4a)     Funds transferred by that Member State under Article 14(2) of Regulation (EU) No DP/2012 shall be subtracted from the amounts allocated to that Member State in accordance with paragraph 4.

5.  The funds transferred to the EAFRD in application of Articles 7(2) and 14(1) of Regulation (EU) No DP/2012 and the funds transferred to the EAFRD in application of Articles 10b and 136 of Council Regulation (EC) No 73/20094(52)7 in respect of calendar year 2013 shall also be included in the annual breakdown referred to in paragraph 4.

5a. In order to take account of the developments relating to the annual breakdown referred to in paragraph 4, including the transfers referred to in paragraphs 4a and 5; to make technical adjustments without changing the overall allocations; or to take account of any other change provided for by a legislative act after the adoption of this Regulation, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 90 (5), to review the ceilings set out in Annex Ia.

6.  For the purposes of the allocation of the performance reserve referred to in Article 20(2) of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012], available assigned revenue collected in accordance with Article 45 of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 for the EAFRD shall be added to the amounts referred to in Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012]. It shall be allocated to Member States proportionally to their share of the total amount of support from the EAFRD.

Article 65Fund contribution

1.  The decision approving a rural development programme shall set the maximum contribution from the EAFRD to the programme. The decision shall clearly identify, where necessary, the appropriations allocated to the less developed regions.

2.  The EAFRD contribution shall be calculated on the basis of the amount of eligible public expenditure.

3.  The rural development programmes shall establish a single EAFRD contribution rate applicable to all measures. Where applicable, a separate EAFRD contribution rate shall be established for less developed regions, ▌ for outermost regions and the smaller Aegean islands within the meaning of Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93, and for transition regions. The maximum EAFRD contribution rate shall be:

(a) 85% of the eligible public expenditure in the less developed regions, the outermost regions and the smaller Aegean islands within the meaning of Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93 ;

(ab)           75% of the eligible public expenditure for all regions whose GDP per capita for the 2007-2013 period was less than 75% of the average of the EU-25 for the reference period but whose GDP per capita is above 75% of the GDP average of the EU-27;

(ac)           63% of the eligible public expenditure for the transition regions other than those referred to in point (ab) of this paragraph;

(b) 53% of the eligible public expenditure in the other regions.

The minimum EAFRD contribution rate shall be 20%.

4.  By way of derogation from paragraph 3, the maximum EAFRD contribution shall be:

(a) 80% for the measures referred to in Articles 15, 28 and 36, for the LEADER local development referred to in Article 28 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] and for operations under Article 20(1)(a)(i). That rate may be increased to a maximum of 90% for the programmes of less developed, the outermost regions, the smaller Aegean islands within the meaning of Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93 and transition regions;

(ab)           75% for operations contributing to the objectives of environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation under Articles 18, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31(3) and (4), 32 and 35.

(ac)           100% for EU-level financial instruments referred to in Article 33(1)(a) of Regulation [CPR/2013];]

(ad)           the contribution rate applicable to the measure concerned increased by 10 percentage points for contributions to financial instruments referred to in Article 33(1)(b) of Regulation [CPR/2013].

(b) 100% for operations receiving funding from funds transferred to the EAFRD in application of Article 7(2) and Article 14 (1) of Regulation (EU) No DP/2012.

(ba)           100% for an amount of EUR 500 million, in 2011 prices, allocated to Portugal and for an amount of EUR 7 million, in 2011 prices, allocated to Cyprus, on condition that these Member States are receiving financial assistance in accordance with Articles 136 and 143 TFEU on 1 January 2014 or thereafter, until 2016 when the application of this provision shall be reassessed.

(bb)           For Member States receiving on 1 January 2014 or thereafter financial assistance in accordance with Article 136 and 143 TFEU, the EAFRD contribution rate resulting from the application of Article 22(3) of Regulation (EU) No CPR/2013 may be increased by a maximum of 10 additional percentage points but without exceeding 95%, for expenditure to be paid by these Member States in the first two years of implementation of the rural development programme. The EAFRD contribution rate which would be applicable without this derogation shall, however, be respected for the total public expenditure made during the programming period.

5.  At least 5%, and in the case of Croatia 2,5%, of the total EAFRD contribution to the rural development programme shall be reserved for LEADER.

5a. At least 30% of the total EAFRD contribution to the rural development programme shall be reserved for measures under Articles 18 for environment and climate related investments, 22-27, 29, 30, 31 with the exception of WFD related payments, 32, 33 and 35. This provision shall not apply to the outermost regions and the overseas territories of the Member States. If a Member State submits a national programme and a set of regional programmes, the provision of the first subparagraph shall not apply to the national programme. The EAFRD contribution to the national programme shall be taken into account for calculating the percentage referred to in the first subparagraph for each regional programme, in proportion to that regional programme's share of the national allocation.

6.  An expenditure co-financed by the EAFRD shall not be co-financed by way of a contribution from the Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund or any other Union financial instrument.

7.  Public expenditure on aid to enterprises shall comply with the aid limits laid down in respect of State aid, unless this Regulation provides otherwise.

Article 67Eligibility of expenditure

1.  By way of derogation from Article 55(7) of Regulation (EC) No [CSF/2012], in cases of emergency measures due to natural disasters, the rural development programmes may provide that eligibility of expenditure relating to programme changes may start from the date when the natural disaster occurred.

2.  Expenditure shall be eligible for an EAFRD contribution only where incurred for operations decided upon by the Managing Authority of the programme in question or under its responsibility, in accordance with selection criteria referred to in Article 49.

With the exception of general costs as defined in Article 46(2)(c), in respect of investment operations under measures falling within the scope of Article 42 TFEU, only expenditure which has been incurred after an application has been submitted to the competent authority shall be considered eligible.

Member States may provide in their programmes that only expenditure which has been incurred after the application for support has been approved by the competent authority shall be eligible.

3.  Paragraphs 1 and 2 shall not apply to Article 51(1) and (2).

4.  Payments by beneficiaries shall be supported by invoices and documents proving payment. Where this cannot be done, payments shall be supported by documents of equivalent probative value, except for forms of support under Article 57(1)(b), (c) and (d) of Regulation (EU) [CSF/2012].

Article 68Eligible expenditure

1.  Where running costs are covered by support under this Regulation the following types of costs shall be eligible:

(a) operating costs;

(b) personnel costs;

(c) training costs;

(d) costs linked to public relations;

(e) financial costs;

(f)  networking costs.

2.  Studies shall only be eligible expenditure where they are linked to a specific operation under the programme or the specific objectives and targets of the programme.

3.  Contributions in kind in the form of provision of works, goods, services, land and real estate for which no cash payment supported by invoices or documents of equivalent probative value has been made, may be eligible for support provided that the conditions of Article 59 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] are fulfilled.

Article 69

Verifiability and controllability of measures

1.  Member States shall ensure that all the rural development measures they intend to implement are verifiable and controllable. To this end, the Managing Authority and the paying agency of each rural development programme shall provide an ex ante assessment of the verifiability and controllability of the measures to be included in the rural development programme. The Managing Authority and paying agency shall also undertake the assessment of verifiability and controllability of measures during the implementation of the rural development programme. Ex ante assessment and assessment during the implementation period shall take into account the results of controls in the previous and current programming period. Where the assessment reveals that the requirements of verifiability and controllability are not met, the measures concerned shall be adjusted accordingly.

2.  Where aid is granted on the basis of standard costs or additional costs and income foregone, Member States shall ensure that the relevant calculations are adequate and accurate and established in advance on the basis of a fair, equitable and verifiable calculation. To this end, a body that is functionally independent from the authorities responsible for the programme implementation and possesses the appropriate expertise shall perform the calculations or confirm the adequacy and accuracy of the calculations. A statement confirming the adequacy and accuracy of the calculations ▌ shall be included in the rural development programme.

Article 70Advances

1.  Payment of advances shall be subject to the establishment of a bank guarantee or an equivalent guarantee corresponding to 100% of the amount of the advance. As regards public beneficiaries, advances shall be paid to municipalities, regional authorities and associations thereof, as well as to public law bodies.

     A facility provided as a guarantee by a public authority shall be considered equivalent to the guarantee referred to in the first subparagraph, provided that the authority undertakes to pay the amount covered by that guarantee should entitlement to the advance paid not be established.

2.  The guarantee may be released when the competent paying agency establishes that the amount of actual expenditure corresponding to the public contribution related to the operation exceeds the amount of the advance.

TITLE VI

Management, control and publicity

Article 71Responsibilities of the Commission

To ensure, in the context of shared management, sound financial management in accordance with Article 317 TFEU, the Commission shall carry out the measures and controls laid down in Regulation (EU) No HR/2012.

Article 72

Responsibilities of the Member States

1.  Member States shall adopt all the legislative, statutory and administrative provisions in accordance with Article 60(1) of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 in order to ensure that the Union’s financial interests are effectively protected.

2.  Member States shall designate, for each rural development programme, the following authorities:

(a) the Managing Authority, which may be either a public or private body acting at national or regional level, or the Member State itself when it carries out that task, to be in charge of the management of the programme concerned;

(b) the accredited paying agency within the meaning of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012;

(c)  the certification body within the meaning of Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012.

3.  Member States shall ensure, for each rural development programme, that the relevant management and control system has been set up ensuring a clear allocation and separation of functions between the Managing Authority and other bodies. Member States shall be responsible for ensuring that the systems function effectively throughout the programme period.

4.  Member States shall clearly define the tasks of the managing authority, the Paying Agency and ▌ the local action groups under LEADER as regards to the application of eligibility and selection criteria and the project selection procedure.

Article 73Managing Authority

1.  The Managing Authority shall be responsible for managing and implementing the programme in an efficient, effective and correct way and in particular for:

(a) ensuring that there is an appropriate secure electronic system to record, maintain, manage and report statistical information on the programme and its implementation required for the purposes of monitoring and evaluation and, in particular, information required to monitor progress towards the defined objectives and priorities;

(b) providing the Commission, by 31 January and 31 October, with relevant indicator data on operations selected for funding, including information on output and financial indicators;

(c) ensuring that beneficiaries and other bodies involved in the implementation of operations:

(i)  are informed of their obligations resulting from the aid granted, and maintain either a separate accounting system or an adequate accounting code for all transactions relating to the operation;

(ii) are aware of the requirements concerning the provision of data to the Managing Authority and the recording of outputs and results;

(d) ensuring that the ex ante evaluation referred to in Article 48 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] conforms to the evaluation and monitoring system and accepting and submitting it to the Commission;

(e) ensuring that the evaluation plan referred to in Article 49 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] is in place, that the ex post programme evaluation referred to in Article 50 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] is conducted within the time limits laid down in that Regulation, ensuring that such evaluations conform to the monitoring and evaluation system and submitting them to the Monitoring Committee and the Commission;

(f)  providing the Monitoring Committee with the information and documents needed to monitor implementation of the programme in the light of its specific objectives and priorities;

(g) drawing up the annual progress report, including aggregate monitoring tables, and, after approval by the Monitoring Committee, submitting it to the Commission;

(h) ensuring that the paying agency receives all necessary information, in particular on the procedures operated and any controls carried out in relation to operations selected for funding, before payments are authorised;

(i)  ensuring publicity for the programme, including through the National Rural Network, by informing potential beneficiaries, professional organisations, the economic and social partners, bodies involved in promoting equality between men and women, and the non-governmental organisations concerned, including environmental organisations, of the possibilities offered by the programme and the rules for gaining access to programme funding as well as by informing beneficiaries of the Union contribution and the general public on the role played by the Union in the programme.

2.  The Member State or the Managing Authority may designate one or more intermediate bodies including local authorities, regional development bodies or non-governmental organisations, to carry out the management and implementation of rural development operations.

When a part of its tasks is delegated to another body, the Managing Authority shall retain full responsibility for the efficiency and correctness of management and implementation of those tasks. The Managing Authority shall ensure that appropriate provisions are in place to allow the other body to obtain all necessary data and information for execution of these tasks.

3.  Where a thematic sub-programme, as referred to in Article 8, is included in the rural development programme, the Managing Authority may designate one or more intermediate bodies, including local authorities, local action groups or non-governmental organisations, to carry out the management and implementation of that strategy. Paragraph 2 shall apply in this case.

The managing authority shall ensure that operations and outputs of this thematic sub-programme are identified separately for the purposes of the monitoring and evaluation system referred to in Article 74.

3a. Subject to the role of the paying agencies and other bodies as set out in Regulation(EU) HR/2012 , where a Member State has more than one programme, a coordinating body may be designated with the purpose of ensuring consistency in the management of the funds and of providing a link between the Commission and the national management authorities.

3b. The Commission shall by means of implementing acts, lay down uniform conditions for the application of the information and publicity requirements referred to in point(i) of paragraph 1.

TITLE VIIMonitoring and evaluation

Chapter I

General provisions

Section 1

Establishment and Objectives of a monitoring and evaluation system

Article 74Monitoring and evaluation system

In accordance with this Title, a common monitoring and evaluation system shall be drawn up in co-operation between the Commission and the Member States and shall be adopted by the Commission by means of implementing acts adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

Article 75Objectives

The monitoring and evaluation system shall aim:

(a) to demonstrate the progress and achievements of rural development policy and assess the impact, effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of rural development policy interventions;

(b) to contribute to better targeted support for rural development;

(c) to support a common learning process related to monitoring and evaluation.

Section 2

Technical provisions

Article 76Common indicators

1.  A list of common indicators relating to the initial situation as well as to the financial execution, outputs, results and impact of the programme and applicable to each programme shall be specified in the monitoring and evaluation system provided for in Article 74 to allow for aggregation of data at Union level.

2.  The common indicators shall be based on available data and linked to the structure and objectives of the rural development policy framework and shall allow assessment of the progress, efficiency and effectiveness of policy implementation against objectives and targets at Union, national and programme level. The common impact indicators shall be based on available data.

3.  The evaluator shall quantify the impact of the programme measured by the impact indicators. Based on evidence in the evaluations on the CAP, including evaluations on Rural Development programmes, the Commission with the help of the Member States shall assess the combined impact of all CAP instruments.

Article 77Electronic Information System

1.  Key information on the implementation of the programme, on each operation selected for funding, as well as on completed operations, needed for monitoring and evaluation, including key information on each beneficiary and ▌ project, shall be recorded and maintained electronically.

Article 78

Provision of information

Beneficiaries of support under rural development measures and local action groups shall undertake to provide to the Managing Authority and/or to appointed evaluators or other bodies delegated to perform functions on its behalf, all the information necessary to permit monitoring and evaluation of the programme, in particular in relation to meeting specified objectives and priorities.

Chapter II

Monitoring

Article 79Monitoring procedures

1.  The Managing Authority and the Monitoring Committee referred to in Article 41 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] shall monitor the quality of programme implementation.

2.  The Managing Authority and the Monitoring Committee shall carry out monitoring of each rural development programme by means of financial, output and target indicators.

Article 80Monitoring Committee

Member States with regional programmes may establish a national Monitoring Committee to coordinate the implementation of these programmes in relation to the National Framework and the uptake of financial resources.

Article 81Responsibilities of the Monitoring Committee

1.  The Monitoring Committee shall satisfy itself as to the performance of the rural development programme and the effectiveness of its implementation. To that end, in addition to the functions referred to in Article 43 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF] the Monitoring Committee:

(a) shall be consulted and issue an opinion, within four months of the decision approving the programme, on the selection criteria for financed operations. The selection criteria shall be revised according to programming needs;

(b) shall examine the activities and outputs related to the progress in the implementation of the evaluation plan of the programme;

(c) shall examine, in particular, actions in the programme relating to the fulfilment of ex ante conditionalities, which fall within the responsibilities of the Managing Authority, and be informed of actions relating to the fulfilment of other ex ante conditionalities;

(d) shall participate in the National Rural Network to exchange information on programme implementation;

(e) shall consider and approve the annual implementation reports before they are sent to the Commission.

Article 82Annual implementation report

1.  By 30 June 2016 and by 30 June each subsequent year until and including2024, the Member State shall submit to the Commission an annual implementation report on implementation of the rural development programme in the previous calendar year. The report submitted in 2016 shall cover the calendar years 2014 and 2015.

2.  In addition to the requirements of Article 44 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] annual implementation reports shall include information inter alia on financial commitments and expenditure by measure, and a summary of the activities undertaken in relation to the evaluation plan.

3.  In addition to the requirements of Article 44 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012], the annual implementation report submitted in 2017 shall also cover a description of the implementation of any sub-programmes included within the programme ▌.

4.  In addition to the requirements of Article 44 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012], the annual implementation report submitted in 2019 shall also cover, a description of the implementation of any sub-programmes included within the programme and an assessment of progress made in ensuring an integrated approach to use of the EAFRD and other EU financial instruments to support the territorial development of rural areas, including through local development strategies.

5.  The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, adopt rules concerning the presentation of the annual implementation reports. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

Chapter III

Evaluation

Article 83General provisions

1.  The Commission may, by means of implementing acts, provide for the elements to be contained in the ex ante and ex post evaluations referred to in Articles 48 and 50 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012] and establish the minimum requirements for the evaluation plan referred to in Article 49 of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012]. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

2.  Member States shall ensure that the evaluations conform to the common evaluation approach agreed in accordance with Article 74, shall organise the production and gathering of the requisite data, and shall supply the various pieces of information provided by the monitoring system to the evaluators.

3.  The evaluation reports shall be made available by the Member States on the internet and by the Commission on the Union website.

Article 84Ex ante evaluation

Member States shall ensure that the ex ante evaluator is engaged from an early stage in the process of development of the rural development programme, including the development of the analysis referred to in Article 9(1)(b), the design of the programme’s intervention logic and the establishment of the programme’s targets.

Article 85Ex post evaluation

In 2024, an ex post evaluation report shall be prepared by the Member States for each of their rural development programmes. That report shall be submitted to the Commission by 31 December 2024 at the latest.

Article 86Syntheses of evaluations

Syntheses at Union level of the ex ante and ex post evaluation reports shall be undertaken under the responsibility of the Commission.

The syntheses of the evaluation reports shall be completed at the latest by 31 December of the year following the submission of the relevant evaluations.

TITLE VIII

Competition provisions

Article 87Rules applying to undertakings

Where support under this Regulation is granted to forms of co-operation between undertakings, it may be granted only to such forms of co-operation between undertakings which comply with the competition rules as they apply by virtue of Articles 143 to 145 of the Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council (EU) No sCMO/2012.

Article 88State aid

1.  Save as otherwise provided for in this Title, Articles 107, 108 and 109 TFEU shall apply to support for rural development by Member States.

2.  Articles 107, 108 and 109 TFEU shall not apply to payments made by Member States pursuant to, and in conformity with, this Regulation, or to additional national financing referred to in Article 89, within the scope of Article 42 TFEU.

Article 89Additional national financing

Payments made by the Member States in relation to operations falling within the scope of Article 42 TFEU and intended to provide additional financing for rural development for which Union support is granted at any time during the programming period, shall be included by Member States in the rural development programme as provided for in Article 9(k) and, where they comply with the criteria under this Regulation, be approved by the Commission.

TITLE IX

Commission powers, common provisions and transitional and final provisions

Chapter I

Commission powers

Article 90Exercise of the delegation

1.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Articles […] is conferred on the Commission subject to the conditions laid down in this Article.

2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in in Articles […] shall be conferred on the Commission for a ▌period of seven years from the date of entry into force of this Regulation. The Commission shall draw up a report in respect of the delegation of power not later than nine months before the end of the seven-year period. The delegation of power shall be tacitly extended for periods of an identical duration, unless the European Parliament or the Council opposes such extension not later than three months before the end of each period.

3.  The ▌ power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Articles […]4(53)8 may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the powers specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.

4.  As soon as it adopts a delegated act, the Commission shall notify it simultaneously to the European Parliament and to the Council.

5.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to ▌Articles […] shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.

Article 91Committee procedure

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by a committee called "Rural Development Committee". That Committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply.

TITLE IXCommission powers, common provisions

and transitional and final provisions

Chapter II

Common provisions

Article 92Exchange of information and documents

1.  The Commission, in collaboration with the Member States, shall establish an information system to permit the secure exchange of data of common interest between the Commission and each Member State. The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, adopt rules for the operation of that system. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

2    The Commission shall ensure that there is an appropriate secure electronic system to record, maintain and manage key information and report on monitoring and evaluation.

Article 92aProcessing and protection of personal data

1.  Member States and the Commission shall collect personal data for the purpose of carrying out their respective management, control as well as monitoring and evaluation obligations under this Regulation and, in particular, those laid down in Titles VI and VII, and shall not process this data in a way incompatible with this purpose.

2.  Where personal data are processed for monitoring and evaluation purposes under Title VII, using the secure electronic system referred to in Article 92, they shall be made anonymous, and processed in aggregated form only.

3.  Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rules of Directive 95/46/EC and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001. In particular, such data shall not be stored in a form which permits identification of data subjects for longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they were collected or for which they are further processed, taking into account the minimum retention periods laid down in the applicable national and Union law.

4.  Member States shall inform the data subjects that their personal data may be processed by national and Union bodies in accordance with paragraph 1 and that in this respect they enjoy the rights set out in the data protection rules of, respectively, Directive 95/46/EC and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001.

5.  This Article shall be subject to the provisions in Articles 110a to 110d in Regulation(EU) HR/2012.

Article 93General CAP provisions

Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 and the provisions adopted pursuant to it shall apply in relation to the measures set out in this Regulation.

Chapter III

Transitional and final provisions

Article 94Repeal

Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 is repealed.

Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 shall continue to apply to operations implemented pursuant to programmes approved by the Commission under that Regulation before 1 January 2014.

Article 95Transitional provisions

In order to facilitate the transition from the system established by Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 to the system established by this Regulation, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the conditions under which support approved by the Commission under Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 may be integrated into support provided for under this Regulation, including for technical assistance and for the ex-post evaluations. Those delegated acts may also provide conditions for the transition from rural development support for Croatia under Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 to support provided for under this Regulation.

Article 96Entry into force and application

This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

It shall apply from 1 January 2014.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at ,

For the European Parliament                                                For the CouncilThe President           The President

___________________

ANNEX Ia

Breakdown of Union support for rural development (2014 to 2020)

(current prices in EUR)

 

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

TOTAL

2014-2020

Belgium

78 342 401

78 499 837

78 660 375

78 824 076

78 991 202

79 158 713

79 314 155

551 790 759

Bulgaria

335 499 038

335 057 822

334 607 538

334 147 994

333 680 052

333 187 306

332 604 216

2 338 783 966

Czech Republic

314 349 445

312 969 048

311 560 782

310 124 078

308 659 490

307 149 050

305 522 103

2 170 333 996

Denmark

90 287 658

90 168 920

90 047 742

89 924 072

89 798 142

89 665 537

89 508 619

629 400 690

Germany

1 178 778 847

1 177 251 936

1 175 693 642

1 174 103 302

1 172 483 899

1 170 778 658

1 168 760 766

8 217 851 050

Estonia

103 626 144

103 651 030

103 676 345

103 702 093

103 728 583

103 751 180

103 751 183

725 886 558

Ireland

313 148 955

313 059 463

312 967 965

312 874 411

312 779 690

312 669 355

312 485 314

2 189 985 153

Greece

601 051 830

600 533 693

600 004 906

599 465 245

598 915 722

598 337 071

597 652 326

4 195 960 793

Spain

1 187 488 617

1 186 425 595

1 185 344 141

1 184 244 005

1 183 112 678

1 182 137 718

1 182 076 067

8 290 828 821

France

1 404 875 907

1 408 287 165

1 411 769 545

1 415 324 592

1 418 941 328

1 422 813 729

1 427 718 983

9 909 731 249

Croatia

332 167 500

332 167 500

332 167 500

332 167 500

332 167 500

332 167 500

332 167 500

2 325 172 500

Italy

1 480 213 402

1 483 373 476

1 486 595 990

1 489 882 162

1 493 236 530

1 496 609 799

1 499 799 408

10 429 710 767

Cyprus

18 895 839

18 893 552

18 891 207

18 888 801

18 886 389

18 883 108

18 875 481

132 214 377

Latvia

138 327 376

138 361 424

138 396 059

138 431 289

138 467 528

138 498 589

138 499 517

968 981 782

Lithuania

230 392 975

230 412 316

230 431 887

230 451 686

230 472 391

230 483 599

230 443 386

1 613 088 240

Luxembourg

14 226 474

14 272 231

14 318 896

14 366 484

14 415 051

14 464 074

14 511 390

100 574 600

Hungary

495 668 727

495 016 871

494 351 618

493 672 684

492 981 342

492 253 356

491 391 895

3 455 336 493

Malta

13 880 143

13 965 035

14 051 619

14 139 927

14 230 023

14 321 504

14 412 647

99 000 898

Netherlands

87 118 078

87 003 509

86 886 585

86 767 256

86 645 747

86 517 797

86 366 388

607 305 360

Austria

557 806 503

559 329 914

560 883 465

562 467 745

564 084 777

565 713 368

567 266 225

3 937 551 997

Poland

1 569 517 638

1 567 453 560

1 565 347 059

1 563 197 238

1 561 008 130

1 558 702 987

1 555 975 202

10 941 201 814

Portugal

577 031 070

577 895 019

578 775 888

579 674 001

580 591 241

581 504 133

582 317 022

4 057 788 374

Romania

1 149 848 554

1 148 336 385

1 146 793 135

1 145 218 149

1 143 614 381

1 141 925 604

1 139 927 194

8 015 663 402

Slovenia

118 678 072

119 006 876

119 342 187

119 684 133

120 033 142

120 384 760

120 720 633

837 849 803

Slovakia

271 154 575

270 797 979

270 434 053

270 062 644

269 684 447

269 286 203

268 814 943

1 890 234 844

Finland

335 440 884

336 933 734

338 456 263

340 009 057

341 593 485

343 198 337

344 776 578

2 380 408 338

Sweden

248 858 535

249 014 757

249 173 940

249 336 135

249 502 108

249 660 989

249 768 786

1 745 315 250

United Kingdom

371 473 873

370 520 030

369 548 156

368 557 938

367 544 511

366 577 113

365 935 870

2 580 157 491

Total EU-28

13 618 149 060

13 618 658 677

13 619 178 488

13 619 708 697

13 620 249 509

13 620 801 137

13 621 363 797

95 338 109 365

Technical assistance (0.25%)

34 130 699

34 131 977

34 133 279

34 134 608

34 135 964

34 137 346

34 138 756

238 942 629

Total

13 652 279 759

13 652 790 654

13 653 311 767

13 653 843 305

13 654 385 473

13 654 938 483

13 655 502 553

95 577 051 994

ANNEX I

Amounts and support rates

Table from Commission proposal, articles modified by Council and amended by EP indicated in grey rows

Article

Subject

Maximum amount in EUR or rate

 

16(8)

Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

1.500

200.000

Per advice

Per three years for the training of advisors

17(2)

Information and promotion activities

70%

Of the eligible costs of the action

17(3)

Quality schemes or agricultural products and foodstuffs

3.000

Per holding per year

18(3)

Investment in physical assets

 

Agricultural sector

50 %

Of the amount of eligible investment in less developed regions and in all regions whose GDP per capita for the 2007 - 2013 period was less than 75% of the average of the EU-25 for the reference period but whose GDP per capita is above 75% of the GDP average of the EU-27.

75 %

75 %

 

Of the amount of eligible investment in outermost regions

Of the amount of eligible investment in Croatia for the implementation of Council Directive 91/676/EEC* within a maximum period of four years from the date of accession pursuant to Article 3(2) and Article 5(1) of that Directive

75 %

Of the amount of eligible investment in the smaller Aegean islands

 

 

40 %

Of the amount of eligible investment in other regions

The above rates may be increased by 20 percentage points, provided that maximum combined support does not exceed 90 %, for:

- Young farmers as defined in Article 2(u), or who have already set up during the five years preceding the application for support;

- Collective investments and integrated projects, including those linked to a merger of Producer Organisations;

- Areas facing natural constraints and other specific as referred to in Article 33;

- Operations supported in the framework of the EIP;

- Investments linked to operations under Articles 29 and 30

 

Processing and marketing of Annex I products

 

 

50 %

 

Of the amount of eligible investment in less developed regions and in all regions whose GDP per capita for the 2007 - 2013 period was less than 75% of the average of the EU-25 for the reference period but whose GDP per capita is above 75% of the GDP average of the EU-27

75 %

 

Of the amount of eligible investment in outermost regions

75 %

 

Of the amount of eligible investment in the smaller Aegean islands

40 %

Of the amount of eligible investment in other regions

The above rates may be increased by 20 percentage points, provided that maximum combined support does not exceed 90 %, for operations supported in the framework of the EIP linked to a merger of Producer Organisations

18(4)

Investment in physical assets

100%

Non productive investments and agricultural and forestry infrastructure

19(5)

Restoring agricultural production potential damaged by natural disasters and introduction of appropriate prevention actions

80%

 

Of the amount of eligible investment costs for prevention operations carried out by individual farmers.

100%

 

Of the amount of eligible investment costs for prevention operations carried out collectively by more than one beneficiary.

100%

Of the amount of eligible investment costs for operations to restore agricultural land and production potential damaged by natural disasters and catastrophic events.

20(6)

Farm and business development

70.000

 

Per young farmer under 20(1)(a)(i)

70.000

 

Per beneficiary under 20(1)(a)(ii)

15.000

 

Per small farm under 20(1)(a)(iii)

24(3)

Establishment of agroforestry systems

80%

Of the amount of eligible investment for the establishment of agroforestry systems

27(5)

Investments in ▌ forestry technologies and in processing and marketing of forestry products

65%

75%

 

 

75 %

 

 

40%

Of the amount of eligible investment in less developed regions

Of the amount of eligible investment in outermost regions

 

Of the amount of eligible investment in the smaller Aegean islands

 

Of the amount of eligible investment in other regions

28(4)

Setting up of producer groups and organisations

10%

 

As a percentage of marketed production during the first five years following recognitionThe support shall be degressive.

▌.

100.000

Maximum amount per year in all cases.

29(8)

Agri-environment-climate

600(*)

Per ha per year for annual crops

900(*)

Per ha per year for specialised perennial crops

450(*)

Per ha per year for other land uses

200(*)

Per Livestock Unit (“LU”) per year for local breeds in danger of being lost to farmers

30(5)

Organic farming

600(*)

Per ha per year for annual crops

900(*)

Per ha per year for specialised perennial crops

450(*)

Per ha per year for other land uses

31(7)

Natura 2000 and Water framework directive payments

500(*)

 

Per ha per year maximum in the initial period not exceeding five years

200(*)

Per ha per year maximum

50

Per ha per year minimum for Water framework directive payments(**)

32(3)

Payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints

25

 

Minimum per ha per year on average of the area of the beneficiary receiving support

250(*)

Maximum per ha per year

450(*)

 

Maximum per ha per year in mountain areas as defined in Article 33(2)

34(3)

Animal welfare

500

Per LU

35(3)

Forest-Environmental services and forest conservation

200(*)

Per ha per year

38 (4)

Crop, animal and plant insurance

65%

Of the insurance premium due

39(5)

Mutual fund for adverse climatic events, animal and plant diseases, pest infestations and environmental incidents

65%

Of the eligible costs.

40(5)

Income stabilisation tool

65%

Of the eligible costs

*   These amounts may be increased in duly substantiated cases taking into account specific circumstances to be justified in the rural development programmes.

** This amount may be decreased in duly substantiated cases taking into account specific circumstances to be justified in the rural development programmes.

NB: The aid intensities are without prejudice to EU State Aid rules

ANNEX II

Biophysical criteria for the delimitation of areas facing natural constraints

CRITERION

 

DEFINITION

 

THRESHOLD

CLIMATE

 

 

Low Temperature *

Length of Growing Period (number of days) defined by number of days with daily average temperature > 5°C (LGPt5) OR

≤ 180 days

 

Thermal-time sum (degree-days) for Growing Period defined by accumulated daily average temperature > 5°C.

≤ 1500 degree-days

Dryness

Ratio of the annual precipitation (P) to the annual potential evapotranspiration (PET)

P/PET £ 0.5

CLIMATE AND SOIL

Excess Soil Moisture

Number of days at or above Field capacity

³ 230 days

SOIL

Limited Soil Drainage *

Areas which are water logged for significant duration of the year

Wet within 80cm from the surface for over 6 months, or wet within 40cm for over 11 months OR

Poorly or very poorly drained soil OR

Gleyic colour pattern within 40cm from the surface

Unfavourable Texture and Stoniness *

Relative abundance of clay, silt, sand, organic matter (weight %) and coarse material (volumetric %) fractions

³ 15% of topsoil volume is coarse material, including rock outcrop, boulder OR

▌ texture class in half or more (cumulatively) of the 100 cm soil surface is sand, loamy sand defined as:

silt% + (2 x clay%) £ 30% OR

Topsoil texture class is heavy clay

(³ 60% clay) OR

Organic soil (organic matter ▌³30%) of at least 40cm OR

Topsoil contains 30% or more clay, and there are vertic properties within 100cm of the soil surface

Shallow Rooting Depth

Depth (cm) from soil surface to coherent hard rock or hard pan.

£ 30cm

Poor Chemical Properties *

Presence ▌ of salts, exchangeable sodium, excessive acidity

Salinity: ³ 4 deci-Siemens per meter (dS/m) in topsoil OR

Sodicity: ³ 6 Exchangeable Sodium Percentage (ESP) in half or more (cumulatively) of the 100 cm soil surface layer OR

Soil Acidity: pH £ 5 (in water) in topsoil

TERRAIN

Steep Slope

Change of elevation with respect to planimetric distance (%).

³ 15%

* Member States need only check fulfilment of this criterion against those of the thresholds that are relevant to the specific situation of an area

ANNEX III

Indicative list of measures and operations of particular relevance to thematic sub-programmes referred to in Article 8

Young farmers:

Business start-up aid for young farmers setting up for the first time in an agricultural holding

Investments in physical assets

Knowledge transfer and information actions

Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

Co-operation

Investments in non-agricultural activities

Small farms:

Business start-up aid for the development of small farms

Investments in physical assets

Quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

Knowledge transfer and information actions

Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

Co-operation

Investments in non-agricultural activities

Setting up of producer groups

Leader

Mountain areas:

Payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints

▌Agri-environment operations

▌Co-operation

▌Investments in physical assets

▌Farm and business development in rural areas

▌Quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

▌Establishment of agroforestry systems

Basic services and village renewal in rural areas

Knowledge transfer and information actions

Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

Setting up of producer groups

Leader

Short supply chains:

Co-operation

Setting up of producer groups

Leader

Quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

Basic services and village renewal in rural areas

Investments in physical assets

Knowledge transfer and information actions

Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

Women in rural areas:

Knowledge transfer and information actions

Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

Investments in physical assets

Farm and business development

Basic services and village renewal in rural areas

Co-operation

LEADER

Climate change mitigation and adaptation and biodiversity:

Knowledge transfer & information actions

Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

Investments in physical assets

Restoring agricultural production potential damaged by natural disasters and catastrophie events and introduction of appropriate prevention action

Basic services & village renewal in rural areas

Investments in forest area development and improvement of the viability of forests

Agri-environment-climate

Organic farming

Natura 2000 and Water framework directive payments

Payments to areas facing natural and other specific constraints (biodiversity)

Forest-environmental and climate services and forest conservation

Co-operation

Risk management

ANNEX IV ▌

Ex ante conditionalities for rural development

1. PRIORITIES-LINKED CONDITIONALITIES

EU priority for RD / CSF Thematic Objective (TO)

Ex ante conditionality

Criteria for fulfilment

RD priority 3: promoting food chain organisation, including processing and marketing of agricultural products, animal welfare and risk management in agriculture

TO 5: promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management

 

3.1. Risk prevention and risk management: the existence of national or regional risk assessments for disaster management. taking into account climate change adaptation4(54)9

 

– A national or regional risk assessment with the following elements shall be in place :

–  A description of the process, methodology, methods and non-sensitive data used for risk assessment as well as of the risk-based criteria for the prioritisation of investment;

–    ▌A description of single-risk and multi-risk scenarios;

–  Taking into account, where appropriate, national climate change adaptation strategies.

 

 

RD priority 4: restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry

TO 5: promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management

TO 6: protecting the environment and promoting the resource efficiency

4.1 Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC): standards for good agricultural and environmental condition of land referred to in Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) HR/xxxx are established at national level

4.2 Minimum requirements for fertilisers and plant protection products: minimum requirements for fertilisers and plant protection products referred to in article 29 Chapter I of Title III of this Regulation are defined at national level

4.3 other relevant national standards: relevant mandatory national standards are defined for the purpose of article 29 Chapter I of Title III of this Regulation

–  GAEC standards are defined in national law and specified in the programmes;

– minimum requirements for fertilisers and plant protection products referred to in Chapter I of Title III of this Regulation are specified in the programmes;

– relevant mandatory national standards are specified in the programmes;

▌RD priority 5: promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in the agriculture and food sectors and the forestry sector

TO 4: supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors

TO 6: Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting the sustainable use of resources ▌

(55)7

 

5.2 Energy efficiency: Actions have been carried out to promote cost-effective improvements of energy end use efficiency and cost-effective investment in Energy efficiency when constructing or renovating buildings.

 

– The actions are:

- Measures to ensure minimum requirements are in place related to the energy performance of buildings consistent with Article 3, Article 4 and Article 5 of Directive 2010/31/EU.

- Measures necessary to establish a system of certification of the energy performance of buildings consistent with Article 11 of Directive 2010/31/EU

- Measures to ensure strategic planning on energy efficiency, consistent with Article 3 of Directive 2012/27 EU

- Measures consistent with Article 13 of Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services to ensure the provision to final customers of individual meters in so far as it is technically possible, financially reasonable and proportionate in relation to the potential energy savings.

 

5.3 Water sector: The existence of a) a water pricing policy which provides adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently and b) an adequate contribution of the different water uses to the recovery of the costs of water services at a rate determined in the approved river basin management plan for investment supported by the programmes.

 

– In sectors supported by the EAFRD,a Member State has ensured a contribution of the different water uses to the recovery of the costs of water services by sector consistent with Article 9 paragraph 1 first indent of Directive 2000/60/EC having regard where appropriate, to the social, environmental and economic effects of the recovery as well as the geographic and climatic conditions of the region or regions affected;

 

 

▌5.5 Renewable energy: 5(56)0 ▌Actions have been carried out to promote the production and distribution of renewable energy sources.5(57)1

- Transparent support schemes, priority in grid access or guaranteed access and priority in dispatching, as well as standard rules relating to the bearing and sharing of costs of technical adaptations which have been made public are in place consistent with Article 14 (1) Article 16 (2) and 16 (3) of Directive 2009/28/EC

– A Member State has adopted a national renewable energy action plan consistent with Article 4 of Directive 2009/28/EC

RD priority 6: promoting social inclusion poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas

 

▌–

 

TO 2: Enhancing access to and use and quality of information and communication technologies (Broadband target)

6.3 ▌Next Generation Network (NGN) Infrastructure : The existence of national or regional NGA Plans which take account of regional actions in order to reach the EU high-speed Internet access targets95(58)2, focusing on areas where the market fails to provide an open infrastructure at an affordable cost and ▌ quality in line with the EU competition and state aid rules, and provide accessible services to vulnerable groups.

 

–            A national ▌or regional NGN Plan is in place that contains:

–  a plan of infrastructure investments ▌based on an economic analysis taking account of existing private and public infrastructures and planned investments ;

–  sustainable investment models that enhance competition and provide access to open, affordable, quality and future proof infrastructure and services;

–  measures to stimulate private investment.

ANNEX V

Indicative list of measures with relevance to one or more Union priorities for rural development

Measures of particular relevance to several Union priorities

Article 16 Advisory services, farm management and farm relief services

Article 18 Investments in physical assets

Article 20 Farm and business development

Article 36 Co-operation

Article 42 – 45 LEADER

Measures of particular relevance to fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry, and rural areas

Article 15 Knowledge transfer and information actions

Article 27 Investments in ▌ forestry technologies and in processing in mobilising and in the marketing of forestry products

Measures of particular relevance for enhancing the competitiveness of all types of agriculture and enhancing farm viability

Article 17 Quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

Article 32 -33 Payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints

Measures of particular relevance to promoting food chain organisation and risk management in agriculture

Article 19 Restoring agricultural production potential damaged by natural disasters and catastrophic events and introduction of appropriate prevention actions

Article 25 Prevention and restoration of damage to forests from forest fires and natural disasters and catastrophic events

Article 28 Setting up of producer groups

Article 34 Animal welfare

Article 37 Risk management

Article 38 Crop, animal, and plant insurance

Article 39 Mutual funds for animal and plant diseases and environmental incidents

Article 40 Income stabilisation tool

Measure of particular relevance to restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry

and

Promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry sectors

Article 22 Investments in forest area development and improvement of the viability of forests

Article 23 Afforestation and creation of woodland

Article 24 Establishment of agroforestry systems

Article 26 Investments improving the resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems

Article 29 Agri-environment- climate

Article 30 Organic farming

Article 31 Natura 2000 and Water framework directive payments

Article 35 Forest-environmental and climate services and forest conservation

Measure of particular relevance to promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas

Article 21 Basic services and village renewal in rural areas

Article 42 – 45 LEADER

_____________________

(1)

Not yet published in the Official Journal.

(2)

OJ C 191, 29.6.2012, p. 116 and OJ C 44, 15.2.2013, p. 160.

(3)

OJ C 225, 27.7.2012, p.174.

(4)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0086.

(5)

* Amendments: new or amended text is highlighted in bold italics; deletions are indicated by the symbol ▌.

(6)

1          Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 of 20 September 2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) (OJ L 277, 21.10.2005, p. 1).

(7)

2          OJ C […], […], p. […].

(8)

3          OJ C […], […], p. […].

(9)

4          OJ C […], […], p. […].

(10)

5          COM(2010) 672 final, 18.11.2010.

(11)

6          OJ L 277, 21.10.2005, p. 1.

(12)

7         COM(2010) 2020 final, 3.3.2010.

(13)

8             Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) No HR/2012 of […]

(14)

9          Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1).

(15)

10            Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC (OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1).

(16)

11            Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides (OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 71).

(17)

12            Council Resolution of 15 December 1998 on a forestry strategy for the European Union, OJ C 56, 26/2/1999, p. 1. [To be replaced by new strategyto be adopted by the end of 2013]

(18)

13         Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7).

(19)

14         OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.

(20)

15         Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for the Community action in the field of the water policy (OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1).

(21)

16         OJ L […], […], p. […].

(22)

17         Council Regulation (EC) No 994/98 of 7 May 1998 on the application of Articles 92 and 93 of the Treaty establishing the European Community to certain categories of horizontal State aid (OJ L 142, 14.05.1998, p.1).

(23)

18            Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31).

(24)

19            Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data (OJ L 8, 12.1.2001, p. 1).

(25)

20         Recital to be adjusted to clarify the continued possibility to process data for other aid schemes.

(26)

21         Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by the Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers (OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13).

(27)

22         Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an instrument for pre-accession assistance (IPA) (OJ L 170, 29.6.2007, p. 1).

(28)

23         This paragraph may be reviewed for consistency with the final text of Regulation (EU) No [CSF/2012]

(29)

24         OJ L […], […], p. […].

(30)

25         Regulation (EC) No 1059/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on the establishment of a common classification of territorial units for statistics (NUTS)

(31)

26         Once this definition is agreed, Articles 30-33 would be aligned, and any reference to UAA replaced by "agricultural area"

(32)

27         OJ L 224, 18.8.1990, p. 19.

(33)

28         Council Decision 2009/470/EC of 25 May 2009 on expenditure in the veterinary field (OJ L 155, 18.6.2009, p. 30).

(34)

29       OJ L […], […], p. […].

(35)

30            Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1).

(36)

31         Regulation (EU) 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

(37)

32         Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91OJ L 189, 20.7.2007, p. 1.

(38)

33         Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89

(39)

34         Reference to be updated, Regulation under adoption

(40)

35         Commission Communication – EU best practice guidelines for voluntary certification schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs, OJ C 341, 16.12.2010, p. 5.

(41)

36            Council Directive 2000/29/EC of 8 May 2000 on protective measures against the introduction into the Community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the Community (OJ L 169, 10.7.2000, p. 1).

(42)

37         Council Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93 of 19 July1993 introducing specific measures for the smaller Aegean islands concerning certain agricultural products (OJ L 184, 27.7.1993, p. 1).

(43)

38         Second Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, 16-17 June 1993, Helsinki/Finland, "Resolution H1 - General Guidelines for the Sustainable Management of Forests in Europe".

(44)

39            Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products (OJ L 189, 20.7.2007, p. 1).

(45)

40         Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (OJ L 59, 8.3.1996, p. 63).

(46)

41         Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7).

(47)

42         Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1).

(48)

43            This Article may be amended further for consistency with the final text of the CPR

(49)

44            This Article may be amended further for consistency with the final text of the CPR

(50)

45            This Article may be amended further for consistency with the final text of the CPR

(51)

46         Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 (OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1).

(52)

47            Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 of 19 January 2009establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1290/2005, (EC) No 247/2006, (EC) No 378/2007 and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 (OJ L 30, 31.1.2009, p.16).

(53)

48         To be completed once the list of delegated acts is completed.

(54)

49         Conclusions of the Justice and Home Affairs Council; Conclusion on further developing risk assessments for disaster management in the European Union. 11-12 April 2011.

(55)

(56)

50         OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, p. 16.

(57)

51         OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, p. 16.

(58)

52     Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A Digital Agenda for Europe (COM(2010) 245 final/2 of 26.8.2010); Commission Staff Working Paper: Digital Agenda Scoreboard (SEC(2011) 708 of 31.5.2011). Scoreboard: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/digital-agenda/scoreboard/index_en.htm


OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS ON THE LEGAL BASIS

Mr Paolo De Castro

Chair

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

BRUSSELS

Subject:           Opinion on the legal basis for the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)(COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – 2011/0282(COD))

Dear Mr Chair,

By letter of 7 June 2012 you asked the Committee on Legal Affairs pursuant to Rule 37of the Rules of Procedure, to give its opinion on the appropriateness of replacing "Article 42 and 43 TFEU", as put forward by the Commission, by "Article 42 and Article 43(2) TFEU" as the legal basis of the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (COM(2011)0627).

Background

I. The proposal

The proposal forms part of the legislative framework for the Common Agricultural Policy during the period 2014-2020. It is intended to replace Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 of 20 September 2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development(1) and builds on the proposal presented by the Commission on 6 October 2011 that sets out common rules for all funds operating under a Common Strategic Framework(2). The new EAFRD is designed to fit into the new Common Strategic Framework also applicable for the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, with a view to achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy (Sustainable Growth, SMART Growth, Inclusive Growth).

The proposal builds on the basic idea starting out from the current rural development concept of multi-annual schemes designed and co-funded by Member States (or regions). Instead of the former three axes linked to economic, environmental and social issues with minimum spending requirements for each axis, the new programming period will have six priorities: fostering knowledge transfer and innovation; enhancing competitiveness; promoting food chain organisation and risk management; restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems; promoting resource efficiency and transition to low carbon economy; promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas. Member States are still required to maintain 25% of their rural development envelope for matters related to land management and the fight against climate change. In order to meet the quantified targets set against these priorities (and taking into account their own specific needs), Member States/regions are to design combinations of measures drawn from a streamlined menu. The proposed regulation includes rules on the preparation, approval and revision of programmes that largely follow current rules, and opens up the possibility for sub-programmes (e.g. for young farmers, small farmers, mountain areas, short supply chains) that benefit from higher aid intensities. The proposal further reinforces the current cooperation measure, and contains a risk management toolkit including support to mutual funds and a new income stabilisation tool.

II. The legal bases in question

1. Legal basis of the proposal

The proposal is based on Articles 42 and 43 TFEU, which read as follows:

"Article 42 TFEU

(1) The provisions of the Chapter relating to rules on competition shall apply to production of and trade in agricultural products only to the extent determined by the European Parliament and the Council within the framework of Article 43(2) and in accordance with the procedure laid down therein, account being taken of the objectives set out in Article 39.

(2) The Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may authorise the granting of aid:

(a) for the protection of enterprises handicapped by structural or natural conditions;

(b) within the framework of economic development programmes.

Article 43 TFEU

1. The Commission shall submit proposals for working out and implementing the common agricultural policy, including the replacement of the national organisations by one of the forms of common organisation provided for in Article 40(1), and for implementing the measures specified in this title.

2. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall establish the common organisation of agricultural markets provided for in Article 40(1) and the other provisions necessary for the pursuit of the objectives of the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy.

3. The Council, on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt measures on fixing prices, levies, aid and quantitative limitations and on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities.

4. In accordance with paragraph 1, the national market organisations may be replaced by the common organisation provided for in Article 40(1) if:

(a) the common organisation offers Member States which are opposed to this measure and which have an organisation of their own for the production in question equivalent safeguards for the employment and standard of living of the producers concerned, account being taken of the adjustments that will be possible and the specialisation that will be needed with the passage of time;

(b) such an organisation ensures conditions for trade within the Union similar to those existing in a national market.

5. If a common organisation for certain raw materials is established before a common organisation exists for the corresponding processed products, such raw materials as are used for processed products intended for export to third countries may be imported from outside the Union."

2. Proposed change of the legal basis

By letter of 7 June 2012, you requested the opinion of the Legal Affairs Committee on the appropriateness of replacing "Article 42 and 43 TFEU" by "Article 42 and Article 43(2) TFEU" as legal basis, given that the AGRI rapporteur, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, has tabled an amendment to this end in his draft report. You further specify that you consider this change "rather a correction of the legal basis than a modification".

III. Analysis

Certain principles emerge from the case law of the Court as regards the choice of legal basis. First, in view of the consequences of the legal basis in terms of substantive competence and procedure, the choice of the correct legal basis is of constitutional importance(3). Secondly, under Article 13(2) TEU, each institution is to act within the limits of the powers conferred upon it by the Treaty(4). Thirdly, according to the case-law of the Court of Justice, "the choice of legal basis for a Community measure must rest on objective factors amenable to judicial review, including in particular the aim and the content of the measure"(5).

Article 42 TFEU relates to the application of competition rules and the authorisation of the granting of State aid.

Article 43(2) TFEU provides the general legal basis for the common agricultural policy, under which Parliament and Council are to establish the common organisation of agricultural markets, as set out in Article 40 TFEU, by means of the ordinary legislative procedure. The other paragraphs of Article 43 do not appear to be relevant here (paragraph 1: submission of Commission proposals; paragraph 3: adoption of measures by Council; paragraph 4: conditions for replacement of national market organisations; paragraph 5: common organisation for certain raw materials); so it is not necessary to add them to the legal basis.

The appropriate legal basis for the regulation in question is thus Article 42 and Article 43(2) TFEU.

The committee considered the above question at its meeting of 10 July 2012. At this meeting, it accordingly decided, by unanimity(6), to recommend that the appropriate legal basis for the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development should be Article 42 and Article 43(2) TFEU.

Yours sincerely,

Klaus-Heiner Lehne

(1)

OJ L 277, 21.10.2005, p. 1.

(2)

Commission proposal of 6.10.2011 for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund covered by the Common Strategic Framework and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (COM(2011)0615).

(3)

Opinion 2/00 Carthagna Protocol [2001] E.C.R. I-9713, para. 5; Case C-370/07 Commission v. Council [2009] E.C.R. I-8917, paras 46-49; Opinion 1/08, General Agreement on Trade in Services [2009] ECR I-11129, para. 110.

(4)

Case C-403/05 Parliament v. Commission [2007] E.C.R. I-9045, para. 49, and the case-law cited therein.

(5)

See most recently Case C-411/06 Commission v Parliament and Council [2009] E.C.R. I-7585.

(6)

The following were present for the final vote: Klaus-Heiner Lehne (Chair), Evelyn Regner (Vice-Chair), Françoise Castex (Vice-Chair), Sebastian Valentin Bodu (Vice-Chair), Axel Voss (rapporteur), Luigi Berlinguer, Piotr Borys, Christian Engström, Marielle Gallo, Giuseppe Gargani, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Bernhard Rapkay, Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, József Szájer, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Sajjad Karim, Eva Lichtenberger, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Jiří Maštálka, Francesco Enrico Speroni, Rebecca Taylor, Alexandra Thein, Cecilia Wikström, Tadeusz Zwiefka.


OPINION of the Committee on Development (21.6.2012)

for the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

(COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – 2011/0282(COD))

Rapporteur: Birgit Schnieber-Jastram

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

From the perspective of development policy, one could suggest an entirely different CAP than that presented in the reform proposals by the Commission. However, a number of well-known incoherencies have been dealt with during past CAP reforms, a trend continued by the current Commission proposals. Farm support has been largely decoupled and the roles of market intervention mechanisms and export refunds have been significantly reduced.

One of the major innovations in the latest reform proposal is the mandatory greening component of direct payments, by supporting environmental measures across the EU, giving priority to climate and environmental policy goals. This will not create a competitive situation with farmers in developing countries. In addition, the mandatory environmental measures will contribute to curbing climate change, which has heavy repercussions on many developing countries. The rapporteur strongly supports the greening component of the Commission proposal but also takes the view that a more ambitious CAP reform, where the targeting of direct payments would be pursued more insistently and coupled payments would be phased out, would have a greater impact on removing the remaining distortions to world markets caused by the CAP.

Despite the positive trends, however, there are still real problems that should be addressed from the viewpoint of development policy. The reformed CAP continues to have external effects which are not sufficiently reflected in the Commission proposals. Therefore, the CAP regulations must be carefully checked in the light of the Treaty obligation to ensure Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) (Article 208 TFEU).

There are no across-the-board-impacts of the CAP on all developing countries but it has been shown that in concrete cases individual CAP measures can lead to import surges in developing countries which threaten the livelihoods of local farmers and undermine agricultural sector policies adopted by developing countries to enhance their long-term food security. In addition, in the light of a broader understanding of PCD which goes beyond "do no harm", some elements of the "second pillar" could help create synergies and enhance cooperation between farmers in Europe and the developing world.

The rapporteur therefore proposes amendments along the following lines

•   The CAP should be placed in the broader framework of the EU's Policy Coherence for Development and its external impacts should be closely monitored, involving the governments and stakeholders of the partner countries.

•   The CAP should also foster transnational cooperation in agricultural research and development in areas that are relevant to developing countries and their particular needs.

The Commission Communication and Council Conclusions for a Food Security Policy framework highlight the need to involve key stakeholder groups, such as community development groups, farmer organisations and women's associations, in policy making and research programmes on rural and agricultural development.

The rapporteur is aware that these changes alone will not be sufficient to address the global challenge of food security and the concerns of developing countries as regards the functioning of agricultural markets. In the wider context of development policies, more could be done to improve knowledge-sharing and cooperation in research and development relevant to developing countries, e.g. possible synergies between programmes such as the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) and the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural Development (ENPARD) could be explored.

Development policy and policy dialogue have to be used in a targeted manner to enable developing countries to benefit from international agricultural trade and to apply, as the Union does, modern market management instruments. One problem in this context is the power concentration along certain points of food chains. In developing countries, it is typically the largest producers that are advantaged in export-led agriculture.

The core challenge for PCD is when interests in developing countries and in Europe conflict. The long-term perspective is that these interests can be aligned and the creation of win-win situations can be facilitated. Thus, the aim of the rapporteur's proposals is not to undermine the CAP's legitimate goals but to make selective adjustments where they are deemed necessary from the perspective of development policy.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 2a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2a) The reform should ensure that, in accordance with Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), objectives of development cooperation, including those approved in the context of the United Nations and other international organisations, are taken into account by the CAP. Measures taken under this regulation should not jeopardize the food production capacity and long term food security of developing countries, in particular least developed countries (LDCs), and contribute to achieving the Union's commitments on mitigating climate change. In promoting sustainable agriculture, the Union should build on the conclusions of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).

Justification

According to Article 208 TFEU, all EU policies which are likely to affect developing countries must take development objectives into account. Facilitating developing countries' agricultural development and enhancing global food security are major objectives of EU development cooperation. PCD goes beyond the "do-no-harm" principle, implying that possible synergetic effects of the EU's agricultural and rural development policy should also be explored. In this context, the IAASTD can provide guidance for the promotion of sustainable agriculture within and beyond the EU.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 35 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(35 a) Agricultural knowledge, science and technology should contribute to the multifunctionality of agriculture, sustain the diversity of agriculture and food systems, maintain biodiversity, sustain natural resources, improve rural livelihoods, including increasing small-scale farm diversification, and minimize the adverse impacts of agricultural activity on people and the environment;

Justification

Organic farming, agro-environmental measures and more broadly, sustainable farming practices have traditionally been promoted within the second pillar of the CAP dedicated to rural development. Under this CAP reform proposal, a strong focus is put on innovation within the scope of the second pillar. As agricultural knowledge, science and technology has so far benefited mainly to large farmers with the aim to increase productivity of the sector, but with unintended social and environmental consequences, it is worth specifying that agricultural knowledge, science and technology should be directed primarily at the attainment of sustainability objectives which have been served least so far.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 38

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(38) The LEADER approach for local development has, over a number of years, proven its utility in promoting the development of rural areas by fully taking into account the multi-sectoral needs for endogenous rural development through its bottom-up approach. LEADER should therefore be continued in the future and its application should remain compulsory for all rural development programmes.

(38) The LEADER approach for local development has, over a number of years, proven its utility in promoting the development of rural areas by fully taking into account the multi-sectoral needs for endogenous rural development through its bottom-up approach. LEADER should therefore be continued in the future and its application should remain compulsory for all rural development programmes. Further exploration of synergies through cooperation with local development actors in developing countries should be encouraged, with full respect for the recognition of traditional knowledge as embodied in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, with the aim to promote sustainable farming practices, compatible with the protection and improvement of the environment, soil and genetic diversity.

Justification

Traditional and local knowledge and community-based innovation constitute an extensive realm of accumulated practical knowledge and knowledge-generating capacity that is needed if sustainability and development goals are to be reached. Exploration of synergies through cooperation with local development actors shall accordingly be in line with the principles embodied under the UN Convention on Biodiversity and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People regarding the protection of traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 52

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(52) Implementation of innovative projects in the context of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability should be undertaken by operational groups bringing together farmers, researchers, advisors, businesses and other actors concerned by innovation in the agricultural sector. In order to ensure that results of such projects profit to the sector as a whole, their results should be disseminated.

(52) Implementation of innovative projects in the context of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability should be undertaken by operational groups bringing together farmers, researchers, advisors, businesses and other actors concerned by innovation in the agricultural sector. In order to ensure that results of such projects profit to the sector as a whole, their results should be disseminated. Cooperation with innovation networks in developing countries, which pursue similar objectives, should be encouraged, in particular those which support decentralized participatory research and the dissemination of knowledge about the best sustainable agricultural practises, including schemes designed specifically for women.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

All of the priorities shall contribute to the cross-cutting objectives of innovation, environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

All of the priorities shall contribute to the cross-cutting objectives of innovation, environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation in line with the conclusions of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), and, where appropriate, reflect Union development objectives.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a regulation

Article 6a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 6a

 

Policy coherence for development

 

The reform shall ensure that, in accordance with Article 208 of the TFEU, objectives of development cooperation, including those approved in the context of the United Nations and other international organisations, are taken into account by the CAP. Measures taken under this regulation shall not jeopardize the food production capacity and long term food security of developing countries, in particular least developed countries (LDCs), and contribute to achieving the Union's commitments on mitigating climate change. In promoting sustainable agriculture, the Union should build on the conclusions of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).

Justification

According to Article 208 TFEU, all EU policies which are likely to affect developing countries must take development objectives into account. Facilitating developing countries' agricultural development and enhancing global food security are major objectives of EU development cooperation. PCD goes beyond the "do-no-harm" principle, implying that possible synergetic effects of the EU's agricultural and rural development policy should also be explored. In this context, the IAASTD can provide guidance for the promotion of sustainable agriculture within and beyond the EU.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a regulation

Article 29 – paragraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2 a. It shall be obligatory for rural development programmes to offer measures to support crop rotation, the inclusion of protein crops in the rotation, and the improvement of perennial cultivations.

Amendment  8

Proposal for a regulation

Article 36 – paragraph 1 – point c a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(c a) innovation and co-operation through twinning between networks in the Union and in third countries;

Amendment  9

Proposal for a regulation

Article 36 - paragraph 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

7. Co-operation among actors located in different regions or Member States shall also be eligible for support.

7. Co-operation among actors located in different regions or Member States as well as co-operation with actors from developing countries shall also be eligible for support.

Justification

PCD goes beyond the "do-no-harm" principle, implying that possible synergetic effects of EU internal policies with regard to development objectives should be explored. The cooperation measures in the context of the EU's rural development policy could support transnational initiatives, involving also entities in developing countries.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a regulation

Article 44 - paragraph 1 - point (a)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) inter-territorial or transnational co-operation projects;

(a) inter-territorial or transnational co-operation projects, including cooperation projects with developing countries;

“Inter-territorial co-operation” means co-operation within a Member State. “Transnational co-operation” means co-operation between territories in several Member States and with territories in third countries.

“Inter-territorial co-operation” means co-operation within a Member State. “Transnational co-operation” means co-operation between territories in several Member States and with territories in third countries.

Justification

PCD goes beyond the "do-no-harm" principle, implying that possible synergetic effects of EU internal policies with regard to development objectives should be explored. The Commission Communication and Council Conclusions for a Food Security Policy framework highlight the need to involve key stakeholder groups, such as community development groups, farmer organisations and women's associations, in policy making on rural and agricultural development. This could also be supported through transnational exchanges in the context of LEADER projects.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a regulation

Article 44 – paragraph 2 – point b a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(b a) a transnational twinning partnership between Natura 2000 areas and similar agricultural ecological management areas in third countries;

Amendment  12

Proposal for a regulation

Article 61 - paragraph 1 - point (da) new

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(da) facilitate the exchange of research, knowledge and technology relevant for agricultural productivity and sustainability between the Union and developing countries, paying particular attention to the needs of smallholder farmers.

Justification

PCD goes beyond the "do-no-harm" principle, implying that possible synergetic effects of EU internal and development policies should be explored. The Communication on the EU policy framework on food security underlines that participation of civil society and farmer organisations in policy making and research programmes, as well as linkages between EU farmer organisations and those from developing countries, should be promoted. The EIP could contribute to sharing experience and innovative tools, relevant both to farmers in Europe and in developing countries.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a regulation

Article 61 - paragraph 2 - point (ca) new

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(ca) cooperating with relevant networks and institutions in developing countries.

Justification

See justification to amendment to Article 61, paragraph 1, point (da) new.

PROCEDURE

Title

Support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

References

COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – 2011/0282(COD)

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

AGRI

25.10.2011

 

 

 

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

DEVE

25.10.2011

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Birgit Schnieber-Jastram

7.11.2011

Discussed in committee

24.4.2012

 

 

 

Date adopted

19.6.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

27

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Thijs Berman, Michael Cashman, Véronique De Keyser, Nirj Deva, Leonidas Donskis, Charles Goerens, Catherine Grèze, Filip Kaczmarek, Michał Tomasz Kamiński, Gay Mitchell, Norbert Neuser, Jean Roatta, Birgit Schnieber-Jastram, Michèle Striffler, Keith Taylor, Eleni Theocharous, Patrice Tirolien, Ivo Vajgl, Anna Záborská, Iva Zanicchi

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Gesine Meissner, Csaba Őry, Judith Sargentini, Patrizia Toia

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Ioan Enciu, Gabriele Zimmer


OPINION of the Committee on Budgets (17.10.2012)

for the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

(COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – 2011/0282(COD))

Rapporteur: Giovanni La Via

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The rural development aspect of the CAP remains a vital part and constitutes a high priority in the current reform. The reform tries to maintain its two-pillar structure with the budget for each pillar maintained in nominal terms at its 2013 level and with a clear focus on delivering results on the key EU priorities. The CAP should remain a policy of strategic importance to ensure the most effective response to the policy challenges and the most efficient use of budgetary resources. The instruments in Pillar II should give Member States more leeway to tailor solutions to their local specificities.

As the CAP has grown more complex over the years, better regulation and a significant reduction of bureaucracy for farmers needs to be an important component of the future CAP. Any unjustified and excessive administrative burden and cost to national authorities should be avoided, especially in the light of fiscal consolidation by the Member States and the scarcity of resources. Targeted spending is required in order to ensure sound management of the Union funds towards the delivery of crucial public goods through the multifunctional CAP. Moreover, the reform aims to design effective and lasting instruments to increase efficiency in the agricultural sector.

The aim of the Commission proposal is to lay down specific policy options in order to respond to future challenges for agriculture and rural areas and to meet the objectives set for the CAP. A strengthening of environmental measures together with an increase of funds is foreseen to address these issues on a territorial basis. Also, funds spent under Pillar II should be targeted more towards the farming community.

In brief, the Commission proposes that rural development should be included in a Common Strategic Framework with other EU shared management funds with a reinforced outcome-orientated approach and subject to clearer, improved ex-ante conditions. Pillar II of the CAP should work in a coordinated and complementary manner with Pillar I, as well as with other EU funds (in particular the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)). The funds are placed under a Common Strategic Framework (CSF) at EU level, which will be transposed into Partnership Contracts at national level, including common objectives and rules for their operation. Establishing common rules for all funds operating under a Common Strategic Framework will make projects easier to handle for both beneficiaries and national authorities and will also facilitate the implementation of integrated projects.

It is of paramount importance to ensure compliance with the requirements of public interest linked to the granting of payments.

This report is based on the aggregate financial amounts, which the Commission has earmarked for the CAP within the next multiannual financial framework. Should fundamental changes be made to that proposal, the substance of this opinion would need to be revised.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a regulation

Article 51 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. A sum of EUR 30 million shall be withdrawn from the allocation referred to in paragraph 1 and used to finance the prize for innovative, local cooperation referred to in Article 56.

deleted

Amendment  2

Proposal for a regulation

Article 56

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 56

deleted

Prize for innovative, local cooperation in rural areas

 

The funds referred to in Article 51(2) shall be used for financing the award of a prize to cooperation projects involving at least two entities located in different Member States that realise an innovative, local concept.

 

Amendment  3

Proposal for a regulation

Article 57

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 57

deleted

Call for proposals

 

1. Starting at the latest in 2015 and every year thereafter the Commission shall launch a call for proposals in view of awarding the prize referred to in Article 56. The last call for proposals shall be launched no later than in 2019.

 

2. The call for proposals shall indicate a theme for the proposals which shall be related to one of the Union priorities for rural development. The theme shall also be appropriate for implementation through cooperation at transnational level.

 

3. The call for proposals shall be open to both local action groups and individual entities cooperating for the purpose of the specific project.

 

Amendment  4

Proposal for a regulation

Article 58

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 58

deleted

Selection procedure

 

1. Applications for the prize shall be submitted by applicants in all Member States to the respective national rural network, which will be responsible for pre-selecting applications.

 

2. National rural networks shall set up, from within their members, a pre-selection board of independent experts in order to pre-select applications. Pre-selection of applications shall be done on the basis of the exclusion, selection and award criteria defined in the call for proposals. Each National Rural Network shall pre-select no more than 10 applications and shall transmit them to the Commission.

 

3. The Commission shall be responsible for the selection of fifty winning projects among the applications pre-selected in all the Member States. The Commission shall set up an ad hoc steering group composed of independent experts. This steering group shall prepare the selection of the winning applications on the basis of the exclusion, selection and award criteria defined in the call for proposals.

 

4. The Commission shall, by means of an implementing act, decide on the list of projects to which the prize is awarded.

 

Amendment  5

Proposal for a regulation

Article 59

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 59

deleted

Financial Prize – conditions and payment

 

1. In order for projects to be eligible for the prize, the time required for their completion shall not exceed two years from the date of adoption of the implementing act awarding the prize. The time frame of realisation of the project shall be defined in the application.

 

2. The prize shall be granted in the form of a lump sum payment. The amount of the payment shall be determined by the Commission, by means of implementing acts, in line with criteria defined in the call for proposals and taking into account the estimated cost of realisation of the project indicated in the application. The maximum prize per project shall not exceed 100 000 euro.

 

3. Member States shall pay the award to winning applicants after verifying that the project has been completed. The relevant expenditure shall be reimbursed by the Union to Member States in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of Chapter II of Title IV of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012. Member States may decide to pay fully or partly the sum of the prize to the winning applicants before having verified the completion of the project but they shall, in this case, bear the responsibility for the expenditure until the completion of the project is verified

 

Amendment  6

Proposal for a regulation

Article 60

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 60

deleted

Rules on the procedure, timetables and setting up of the steering-group

 

The Commission shall by means of implementing acts lay down detailed provisions on the procedure and timetables for the selection of projects and rules on the setting up of the steering group of independent experts referred to in Article 58(3). Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 91.

 

PROCEDURE

Title

Support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

References

COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – 2011/0282(COD)

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

AGRI

25.10.2011

 

 

 

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

BUDG

25.10.2011

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Giovanni La Via

6.2.2012

Date adopted

10.10.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

27

2

1

Members present for the final vote

Marta Andreasen, Richard Ashworth, Francesca Balzani, Zuzana Brzobohatá, Göran Färm, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazábal Rubial, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Jens Geier, Ivars Godmanis, Lucas Hartong, Jutta Haug, Monika Hohlmeier, Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska, Ivailo Kalfin, Sergej Kozlík, Jan Kozłowski, Alain Lamassoure, Giovanni La Via, George Lyon, Barbara Matera, Juan Andrés Naranjo Escobar, Nadezhda Neynsky, Dominique Riquet, Helga Trüpel, Angelika Werthmann

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Georgios Papastamkos, Nils Torvalds, Catherine Trautmann


OPINION of the Committee on Budgetary Control (21.9.2012)

for the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

(COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – 2011/0282(COD))

Rapporteur: Tamás Deutsch

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Budgetary Control calls on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) In order to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of this Regulation, the power to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty should be delegated to the Commission. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and to the Council.

(4) In order to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of this Regulation, the power to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty should be delegated to the Commission. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and to the Council. The Court of Auditors may provide an Opinion on these delegated acts on request of either the European Parliament or the Council under Article 287(4) of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.

Justification

This will enable Parliament and Council to form their respective views on the basis of the technical expertise provided by the Court of Auditors.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point l

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(l) “transaction cost”: a cost linked to a commitment but not directly attributable to its implementation;

(l) “transaction cost”: a cost linked to a commitment that is indirectly generated by its implementation;

Amendment  3

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point r

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(r) "natural disaster": a naturally occurring event of biotic or abiotic nature that leads to important disturbances of agricultural production systems and forest structures, eventually causing important economic damage to the farming and forest sectors;

(r) "natural disaster": a naturally occurring event of biotic or abiotic nature that leads to important disturbances of agricultural production systems and forest structures, eventually causing important economic damage to the farming or forest sectors;

Amendment  4

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point s

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(s) "catastrophic event": an unforeseen event of biotic or abiotic nature caused by human action that leads to important disturbances of agricultural production systems and forest structures, eventually causing important economic damage to the farming and forest sectors;

(s) "catastrophic event": an unforeseen event of biotic or abiotic nature caused by human action that leads to important disturbances of agricultural production systems and forest structures, eventually causing important economic damage to the farming or forest sectors;

Amendment  5

Proposal for a regulation

Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) the competitiveness of agriculture;

(1) the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry;

Amendment  6

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 4 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) restoring and preserving biodiversity, including in Natura 2000 areas and high nature value farming, and the state of European landscapes;

(a) restoring and preserving biodiversity, including in Natura 2000 areas and high nature value farming systems, and the state of European landscapes;

Amendment  7

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

For each of the objectives and Union priorities mentioned in this Article the Commission shall specify a precise set of objectives and targets as well as monitoring their achievements.

Justification

This modification reflects the Parliament's call to focus the policy more on the results of EU actions and to measure its achievement.

Amendment  8

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Each Member State shall in national programmes clearly identify its needs in respect of the Union priorities as well as indicators allowing the Commission to monitor the achievement of the results.

Justification

This modification reflects the Parliament’s call to focus the policy more on the results of EU actions and to measure its achievement.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

As a general rule the Commission and the Member states shall ensure that EU support shall be targeted to rural areas where it is most needed.

Justification

This modification reflects the Parliament’s call for more focus on the results of EU actions.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point n – point i

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(i) the designation by the Member State of all authorities referred to in Article 72(2) and, for information, a summary description of the management and control structure;

(i) the designation by the Member State of all authorities referred to in Article 72(2) and a description of the management and control structure, including the verifiability and controllability of the rural development measures and sub-measures; it shall be a condition for approval of the regional development programme that the Commission has found the management and control structure to be efficient and effective;

Amendment  11

Proposal for a regulation

Article 14 – paragraph 1 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

The Commission together with the Member States shall establish effective tools - including clear and unambiguous selection criteria - in order to mitigate the risk of irregular double financing with other EU funds or national funds.

Justification

The draft regulation provides for the funding of many (new) measures from sources other than EAFRD, either other EU funds or national funds. This diversity of funding sources entails a high risk of irregular double financing which has to be mitigated.

Amendment  12

Proposal for a regulation

Article 20 – paragraph 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

7. Support under paragraph 1(c) shall be equal to 120% of the annual payment that the beneficiary received under the small farmers scheme.

7. The Commission shall further clarify the objectives of this measure and establish clear criteria and effective controls in order to avoid abusive operations.

Justification

According to the draft regulation, support under this measure shall also cover annual payments for farmers who, at the time of submitting their application for support, participate in the small farmers scheme for at least one year and who commit to permanently transfer their entire holding and the corresponding payment entitlements to another farmer. It is unclear what is intended to be achieved with this measure. It appears to be an income support or retirement scheme for farmers who permanently transmit their holding. It is unclear why such support should be financed by pillar II. It is therefore proposed to delete this sub measure unless the necessary clarification is provided as to the objectives and targets, and unless clear criteria and effective controls are established in order to avoid abusive operations by farmers seeking to obtain the aid, by, for example, formally transferring the holdings to a family member.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a regulation

Article 21 – paragraph 1 – point f

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(f) studies and investments associated with the maintenance, restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage of villages and rural landscapes, including related socio-economic aspects;

(f) studies and investments associated with the maintenance, restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage, of areas of high ecological value, of villages and rural landscapes, including related socio-economic aspects, as well as environmental awareness initiatives;

Amendment  14

Proposal for a regulation

Article 21 – paragraph 1 – point g

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(g) investments targeting the relocation of activities and conversion of buildings or other facilities located close to rural settlements, with a view to improving the quality of life or increasing the environmental performance of the settlement.

(g) investments targeting the relocation of activities and conversion of buildings or other facilities located inside and close to rural settlements, with a view to improving the quality of life or increasing the environmental performance of the settlement.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a regulation

Article 28 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Support shall be granted to producer groups which are officially recognised by the Member States' competent authority on the basis of a business plan. It shall be limited to producer groups coming under the definition of SMEs.

Support shall be granted to producer groups which are officially recognised by the Member States' competent authority on the basis of a business plan. It shall be limited to producer groups coming under the definition of SMEs or covered by the legislation of the Member States.

Amendment  16

Proposal for a regulation

Article 31 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Support shall be granted to farmers and to private forest owners and associations of forest owners respectively. In duly justified cases it may also be granted to other land managers.

2. Support shall be granted to farmers and to private forest owners and associations of forest owners respectively as well as to the owners or public administrators of forests not funded from national coffers. In duly justified cases it may also be granted to other land managers.

Amendment  17

Proposal for a regulation

Article 40 – paragraph 5 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Measures shall be taken to clearly delineate the objectives between the first and the second pillar of the CAP and to ensure that the decision to finance a measure by a pillar is based on the measure's contribution to achieving the objectives of the pillar.

Justification

While direct payments under pillar I are likely to contribute to farm incomes, the rural development (pillar II) regulation also includes an income stabilisation tool which provides compensation to farmers who experience a severe drop in their income. It is necessary to clearly delineate the objectives between pillar I and pillar II and to ensure that the decision to finance a measure by a pillar is based on the measure's contribution to achieving the objectives of the pillar.

Amendment  18

Proposal for a regulation

Article 65 – paragraph 7 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

7a. Member States shall maintain the level of efforts made during the 2007-2013 programming period and spend a minimum of 25% of the total contribution from the EAFRD to each rural development programme for climate change mitigation and adaptation and land management, through the agri-environment-climate, organic farming and payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints measures.

Justification

In order to achieve the allocation of resources as mentioned in recital 28 it is necessary to include the text from the recital into the mandatory provisions.

Amendment  19

Proposal for a regulation

Article 69 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Where aid is granted on the basis of standard costs or additional costs and income foregone, Member States shall ensure that the relevant calculations are adequate and accurate and established in advance on the basis of a fair, equitable and verifiable calculation. To this end, a body that is independent from the authorities responsible for the calculations and possesses the appropriate expertise shall provide a certificate confirming the adequacy and accuracy of the calculations. That certificate shall be included in the rural development programme.

2. Where aid is granted on the basis of standard costs or additional costs and income foregone, Member States shall ensure that the relevant calculations are adequate and accurate and established in advance on the basis of a fair, equitable and verifiable calculation. To this end, a body that is independent from the authorities responsible for the calculations and possesses the appropriate expertise shall provide a certificate confirming the adequacy and accuracy of the calculations. That certificate shall be included in the rural development programme. The Commission shall ensure, before approving programmes, that all relevant elements are included in the calculations and that the main assumptions and parameters are appropriate.

Justification

This modification reflects the problems identified by the Court as regards problems in the establishment of aid amounts (see paragraph 97 in Special Report 7/2011).

Amendment  20

Proposal for a regulation

Article 75 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) to demonstrate the progress and achievements of rural development policy and assess the impact, effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of rural development policy interventions;

(a) to evaluate critically and objectively the progress and achievements of rural development policy and assess the impact, effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of rural development policy interventions;

Justification

The original wording is too prescriptive.

Amendment  21

Proposal for a regulation

Article 90 – paragraph 5 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

5a. The European Court of Auditors may provide an opinion on delegated acts referred to in Articles 2(2), 6(2), 12(2), 15(5), 16(9), 17(4), 19(6), 20(8), 21(4), 22(3), 23(3), 29(10), 34(4), 35(5), 36(10), 37(4), 43(2), 45(3), 46(6), 47(6), 51(4) and 95 on request of either the European Parliament or the Council .

Justification

This will enable Parliament and Council to form their respective views on the basis of the technical expertise provided by the Court of Auditors.

PROCEDURE

Title

Support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

References

COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – 2011/0282(COD)

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

AGRI

25.10.2011

 

 

 

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

CONT

25.10.2011

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Tamás Deutsch

24.11.2011

Date adopted

17.9.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

2

0

Members present for the final vote

Marta Andreasen, Jean-Pierre Audy, Inés Ayala Sender, Zigmantas Balčytis, Zuzana Brzobohatá, Andrea Češková, Rosario Crocetta, Tamás Deutsch, Martin Ehrenhauser, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Iliana Ivanova, Monica Luisa Macovei, Jan Mulder, Crescenzio Rivellini, Paul Rübig, Theodoros Skylakakis, Bart Staes, Michael Theurer

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Christofer Fjellner, Edit Herczog, Ivailo Kalfin, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Derek Vaughan


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (24.9.2012)

for the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)

(COM(2011)0627 – C7-0340/2011 – 2011/0282(COD))

Rapporteur: Karin Kadenbach

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

General comments

This proposal for a regulation on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) under the second pillar contains promising steps towards addressing the environmental challenges that face the EU inasmuch as its creates and strengthens incentives to more sustainable farming. The new regulation must equip the Member States with appropriate instruments for overcoming environmental, social and economic challenges. Many of the proposed measures will contribute to stemming the loss of biodiversity, preventing soil erosion and improving groundwater quality.

In the current reform process, the opportunity to bring about substantial changes must not be missed. If it is, the cost will be borne not only the environment but also by farmers and EU taxpayers. That is why the second pillar is particularly important. The Member States must receive support to develop well structured measures that proactively meet the needs of rural communities.

Provision of public goods

The agricultural sector and rural areas must step up their efforts to meet climate and energy targets and to implement the biodiversity strategy. Farmers, who along with foresters are the main land managers, will need to be supported in this regard because market prices do not reflect the provision of such public goods.

Environmental expenditure minimum

A minimum level of expenditure in rural areas on environment-related measures – including agricultural environment and climate measures, Natura 2000, planning for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and environment-friendly farming – must be made compulsory. Within the EU programmes for rural development, there is an urgent need to prioritise measures that concern natural resources, as well as the associated environment-friendly farming and environment-specific measures. Introducing a minimum level of expenditure will be of long-term benefit to all Europe’s citizens and to society generally.

Organic farming and ‘high nature value farming’ (HNVF)

Organic farming and HNVF have a particularly good track record in terms of sustainability and they should therefore be promoted through a mix of measures cutting across the various programmes. It has been shown, for example, that environment-friendly farming can not only have a positive impact environmentally but can also produce economically stabilising effects, from the protection and improvement of biodiversity and soil and water quality through to climate protection and more efficient use of natural resources. In particular, support for environment-friendly farming can create employment and help to promote the provision of public goods and the availability of high-quality foodstuffs.

Risk management must not be financed at the expense of sustainability

The goal of pillar 2 is the sustainable development of rural areas. It aims to contribute to ‘a more territorially and environmentally balanced, climate-friendly and resilient and innovative Union agricultural sector’. That goal is incompatible with risk-management measures. There is already provision under the first pillar for income stabilisation so there is no need to make this part of the second pillar as well. If there are to be special risk-management measures, then they should be established under the first pillar. The danger is too great that risk management will result in vital funding for the environment and development seeping away into the insurance sector.

Promoting rural development beyond agriculture

It is particularly important to develop local infrastructure and local basic services in rural areas in order to counter tendencies towards depopulation. That will includes developing healthcare and prevention centres with a view to improving regional access to health facilities. In accordance with the Europe 2020 strategy, this will entail the creation of high-quality jobs (doctors, chemists and nurses, etc.) and will thus boost employment.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5) To ensure the sustainable development of rural areas, it is necessary to focus on a limited number of core priorities relating to knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas, the competitiveness of all types of agriculture and farm viability, food chain organisation and risk management in agriculture, restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems dependant on agriculture and forestry, resource efficiency and the shift towards a low carbon economy in the agricultural, food and forestry sectors, and promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and the economic development of rural areas. In doing so account must be taken of the diversity of situations that affect rural areas with different characteristics or different categories of potential beneficiaries and the cross-cutting objectives of innovation, environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation action should relate to both limiting emissions in agriculture and forestry from key activities such as livestock production, fertilizer use and to preserving the carbon sinks and enhancing carbon sequestration with regard to land use, land use change and the forestry sector. The Union priority for rural development relating to knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas should apply horizontally in relation to the other Union priorities for rural development.

(5) To ensure the sustainable development of rural areas, it is necessary to focus on a limited number of core priorities relating to knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas, the competitiveness of all types of agriculture and farm viability, food chain organisation in agriculture, restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems dependant on agriculture and forestry, resource efficiency and the shift towards a low carbon economy in the agricultural, food and forestry sectors, and promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and the economic development of rural areas. In doing so account must be taken of the diversity of situations that affect rural areas with different characteristics or different categories of potential beneficiaries and the cross-cutting objectives of innovation, environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation action should relate to both limiting emissions in agriculture and forestry from key activities such as livestock production, fertilizer use and to preserving the carbon sinks and enhancing carbon sequestration with regard to land use, land use change and the forestry sector. The Union priority for rural development relating to knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry and rural areas should apply horizontally in relation to the other Union priorities for rural development.

Justification

The objective of Pillar 2 is to support or incentivise farmers to increase the environmental and social and economic resilience of their farms and communities. Therefore the introduction of risk management measures would be inappropriate.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6) The Union's priorities for rural development should be pursued in the framework of sustainable development and the Union's promotion of the aim of protecting and improving the environment as set out in Articles 11 and 19 of the Treaty, taking into account the polluter pays principle. The Member States should provide information on the support for climate change objectives in line with the ambition to devote at least 20% of the Union budget to this end, using a methodology adopted by the Commission.

(6) The Union's priorities for rural development should be pursued in the framework of sustainable development and the Union's promotion of the aim of protecting and improving the environment as set out in Articles 11 and 19 of the Treaty, taking into account the polluter pays principle. Member States should provide information on how they will implement the biodiversity strategy and ensure that climate change objectives are clearly defined and integrated into the methodology adopted in order to prioritise projects.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 7 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

 (7a) Activities under this Regulation should support, and not duplicate the measures available under other Union financial instruments.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 8

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(8) In order to ensure the immediate start and efficient implementation of rural development programmes, support from the EAFRD should be based on the existence of sound administrative framework conditions. Member States should therefore assess compliance with certain ex ante conditionalities. Each Member State should prepare either a national rural development programme for its entire territory or a set of regional programmes. Each programme should identify a strategy for meeting targets in relation to the Union priorities for rural development and a selection of measures. Programming should comply with Union priorities for rural development, while being adapted to national contexts and complement the other Union policies, in particular the agricultural market policy, cohesion policy and the common fisheries policy. Member States which opt for a set of regional programme should be able to also prepare a national framework, without a separate budgetary allocation, in order to facilitate co-ordination among the regions in addressing nation-wide challenges.

(8) In order to ensure the immediate start and efficient implementation of rural development programmes, support from the EAFRD should be based on the existence of sound administrative framework conditions. Member States should therefore assess compliance with certain ex ante conditionalities. Each Member State should prepare either a national rural development programme for its entire territory or a set of regional programmes, taking into account, inter alia, their specific environmental situation. Each programme should identify a strategy for meeting targets in relation to the Union priorities for rural development and a selection of measures. Programming should comply with Union priorities for rural development, while being adapted to national contexts and complement the other Union policies, in particular the agricultural market policy, cohesion policy and the common fisheries policy. Member States should also ensure that their national or regional programmes are coherent with other national programmes such as the national renewable energy action plans and the national forest programmes. Member States which opt for a set of regional programme should be able to also prepare a national framework, without a separate budgetary allocation, in order to facilitate co-ordination among the regions in addressing nation-wide challenges.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 9

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(9) Member States should be able to include in their rural development programmes thematic sub-programmes to address specific needs in areas of particular importance to them. Thematic sub-programmes should concern among others young farmers, small farms, mountain areas and the creation of short supply chains. Thematic sub-programmes should also be used to provide for the possibility to address restructuring of agricultural sectors which have a strong impact on the development of rural areas. As a means to increase the efficient intervention of such thematic sub-programmes Member States should be allowed to provide for higher support rates for certain operations covered by them.

(9) Member States should be able to include in their rural development programmes thematic sub-programmes to address specific needs in areas of particular importance to them. Thematic sub-programmes should concern among others young farmers, small farms, High Nature Value farms, mountain areas, the creation of short supply chains and tackling environmental challenges. Thematic sub-programmes should also be used to provide for the possibility to address restructuring of agricultural sectors which have a strong impact on the development of rural areas without causing negative social and environmental effects. As a means to increase the efficient intervention of such thematic sub-programmes Member States should be allowed to provide for higher support rates for certain operations covered by them.

Justification

Maintaining HNV farming is an EU objective, shared by rural development and biodiversity policies. But if HNV farming is to be maintained, a new approach is needed. The aim should be to establish a consistent and effective strategy for maintaining HNV farming across the EU. The challenges around HNV is not just the environment, it is that these farming systems are very vulnerable both economically and socially. If we can find good support for HNV, we will be able to save many farmers from stopping their business and keep many more people in the rural areas.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 20

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(20) The agricultural sector is subject more than other sectors to damage to its productive potential caused by natural disasters. In order to help farm viability and competitiveness in the face of such disasters support should be provided for helping farmers restore agricultural potential damaged. Member States should also ensure that no overcompensation of damages occurs as a result of the combination of Union (in particular the risk management measure), national and private compensation schemes. In order to ensure the efficient and effective use of EAFRD budgetary resources, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty should be delegated to the Commission in respect of defining the eligible costs under this measure.

(20) The agricultural sector is subject more than other sectors to damage to its productive potential caused by natural disasters. In order to help farm viability and competitiveness in the face of such disasters support should be provided for helping farmers restore agricultural potential damaged. Member States should also ensure that no overcompensation of damages occurs as a result of the combination of Union, national and private compensation schemes. In order to ensure the efficient and effective use of EAFRD budgetary resources, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty should be delegated to the Commission in respect of defining the eligible costs under this measure.

Justification

The objective of Pillar 2 is to support or incentivise farmers to increase the environmental and social and economic resilience of their farms and communities. Therefore the introduction of risk management measures would be inappropriate.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 21 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(21a) Proper integration with the sustainable Union energy policy must be ensured, firstly through the sustainability standards for biomass production from agricultural and forestry activities, as well as increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources in the agriculture.

Amendment  8

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 24 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(24a) In order to preserve and enhance biodiversity in rural areas, it is necessary for rural development to contribute to the appropriate implementation of the Natura 2000 network by putting in place specific tools for the drawing up of management practices and the implementation of projects, including specific infrastructure (non-productive investments).

Justification

It is key for the improvement of biodiversity in rural areas that rural development contributes to the full implementation of the Natura 2000 network that RDR takes responsibility for its part of the network. Need of coordination with structural (ERDF, CF) programmes and LIFE to ensure that they have complementary roles and all Natura 2000 needs are tackled.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 25

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(25) Forestry is an integral part of rural development and support for sustainable and climate friendly land use should encompass forest area development and sustainable management of forests. During the 2007-2013 programming period a variety of measures covered different types of support for forestry investments and management. In the interest of simplification but also of allowing beneficiaries to design and realise integrated projects with increased added value, a single measure should cover all types of support for forestry investments and management. This measure should cover the extension and improvement of forest resources through afforestation of land and creation of agro-forestry systems combining extensive agriculture with forestry systems, restoration of forests damaged by fire or other natural disasters and relevant prevention measures, investments in new forestry technologies and in the processing and marketing of forest products aimed at improving the economic and environmental performance of forest holders and non remunerative investments which improve ecosystem and climate resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems. Support should avoid distorting competition and be market neutral. As a result limitations should be imposed relating to the size and legal status of beneficiaries. Preventive actions against fires should be in areas classified by Member States as medium or high fire risk. All preventive actions should be part of a forest protection plan. The occurrence of a natural disaster in the case of action for the restoration of damaged forest potential should be subject to the formal recognition by a scientific public organisation. The forestry measure should be adopted in the light of undertakings given by the Union and the Member States at international level, and be based on Member States' national or sub-national forest plans or equivalent instruments which should take into account the commitments made in the Ministerial Conferences on the Protection of Forests in Europe. It should contribute to the implementation of the Union Forestry Strategy. In order to ensure that afforestation of agricultural land is in line with the aims of environmental policy the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty should be delegated to the Commission in respect of the definition of certain minimum environmental requirements.

(25) Forestry is an integral part of rural development and support for sustainable and climate friendly land use should encompass forest area development and sustainable management of forests. During the 2007-2013 programming period a variety of measures covered different types of support for forestry investments and management. In the interest of simplification but also of allowing beneficiaries to design and realize integrated projects with increased added value, a single measure should cover all types of support for forestry investments and management. This measure should cover the extension and improvement of forest resources through afforestation of land and creation of agro-forestry systems combining extensive agriculture with forestry systems, restoration of forests damaged by fire or other natural disasters and relevant prevention measures, investments in new forestry technologies and in the processing and marketing of forest products aimed at improving the economic and environmental performance of forest holders and forest workers and non remunerative investments which improve ecosystem and climate resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems. Support should avoid distorting competition, be market neutral and coherent with environmental objectives. Forest management plans including biodiversity aspects should be applied to all forests receiving funding under rural development programmes. As a result limitations should be imposed relating to the size and legal status of beneficiaries for the production of wood but not for non-wood forest products. Preventive actions against fires should be in areas classified by Member States as medium or high fire risk and should go beyond roads and water tanks; modernised traditional practices should be included. All preventive actions should be a mandatory part of every forest Management Plan under its protection chapter. The occurrence of a natural disaster in the case of action for the restoration of damaged forest potential should be subject to the formal recognition by a scientific public organisation. The forestry measure should be adopted in the light of undertakings given by the Union and the Member States at international level, and be based on Member States' national or sub-national forest plans or equivalent instruments which should take into account the commitments made in the Ministerial Conferences on the Protection of Forests in Europe. It should contribute to the implementation of the Union Forestry Strategy. In order to ensure that afforestation of agricultural land is in line with the aims of environmental policy the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty should be delegated to the Commission in respect of the definition of certain minimum environmental requirements.

Amendment  10

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 28

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(28) Agri-environment-climate payments should continue to play a prominent role in supporting the sustainable development of rural areas and in responding to society's increasing demands for environmental services. They should further encourage farmers and other land managers to serve society as a whole by introducing or continuing to apply agricultural practices contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and compatible with the protection and improvement of the environment, the landscape and its features, natural resources, the soil and genetic diversity. In this context the conservation of genetic resources in agriculture and the additional needs of farming systems that are of high nature value should be given specific attention. Payments should contribute to covering additional costs and income foregone resulting from the commitments undertaken and should only cover commitments going beyond relevant mandatory standards and requirements, in accordance with the "polluter pays" principle. In many situations the synergies resulting from commitments undertaken jointly by a group of farmers multiply the environmental and climate benefit. However, joint action brings additional transaction costs which should be compensated adequately. In order to ensure that farmers and other land managers are in a position to correctly implement the commitments they have undertaken, Member States should endeavour to provide them with the required skills and knowledge. Member States should maintain the level of efforts made during the 2007-2013 programming period and have to spend a minimum of 25 % of the total contribution from the EAFRD to each rural development programme for climate change mitigation and adaptation and land management, through the agri-environment-climate, organic farming and payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints measures.

(28) Agri-environment-climate payments should continue to play a prominent role in supporting the sustainable development of rural areas and in responding to society's increasing demands for environmental public goods and services. They should further encourage farmers and other land managers to serve society as a whole by introducing or continuing to apply agricultural practices contributing to land related climate change mitigation and adaptation and compatible with the protection and improvement of the environment, the landscape and its features, natural resources, the soil, biodiversity and genetic diversity. In this context the conservation of genetic resources in agriculture and the additional needs of farming systems that are of high nature value should be given specific attention. Payments should contribute to covering additional costs and income foregone resulting from the commitments undertaken and should only cover commitments going beyond relevant mandatory standards and requirements, in accordance with the "polluter pays" principle. In many situations the synergies resulting from commitments undertaken jointly by a group of farmers multiply the environmental and climate benefit. However, joint action brings additional transaction costs which should be compensated adequately. In order to ensure that farmers, forest owners and other land managers are in a position to correctly implement the commitments they have undertaken, Member States should endeavour to provide them with the required skills and knowledge. Member States should maintain the level of efforts made during the 2007-2013 programming period and have to spend a minimum of 35 % of the total contribution from the EAFRD to each rural development programme for climate change mitigation and adaptation and land management, through the agri-environment-climate, organic farming and payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints measures, Natura 2000 and Water framework directive payments, investments improving the resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems, forest-environmental and climate services and forest conservation.Special attention should be paid to the transition between current and future agri-environment and climate commitments undertaken by farmers and landmanagers, taking into account the change in the baseline.

Justification

Currently there is already a mandatory provision to have 25% minimum spending. Therefore, it is important to increase the minimum spending from 25% to 35%. The baseline is the legal "basis" from which you can start calculating your payments in the second pillar. It is hence important that you do measures in pillar 2 that go beyond both cross compliance and what is required in the greening (avoiding double payments). Since the greening is put in place, the baseline changes, hence it is important that the agri-environment and climate commitments go beyond this baseline.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 37

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(37) Farmers are exposed today to increasing economic and environmental risks as a consequence of climate change and increased price volatility. In this context, effective management of risks has an increased importance for farmers. For this reason a risk management measure should be set up to assist farmers in addressing the most common risks faced by them. This measure should therefore support farmers to cover the premiums they pay for crop, animal and plant insurance as well as the setting up of mutual funds and the compensation paid by such funds to farmers for losses suffered as a result of the outbreak of animal or plant diseases or environmental incidents. It should also cover an income stabilisation tool in the form of a mutual fund to support farmers facing a severe drop in their income. In order to ensure that there is equal treatment among farmers across the Union, that competition is not distorted and that the international obligations of the Union are respected, specific conditions should be provided for the granting of support under these measures. In order to ensure the efficient use of EAFRD budgetary resources the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty should be delegated to the Commission in respect of defining the minimum and maximum duration of commercial loans to mutual funds.

deleted

Justification

There is no need to include extra income support against risks in pillar 2, since pillar 1 already has an income support basis. If it has to be tackled anywhere in the legal texts, risk management should be tackled in pillar 1.The objective of Pillar 2 is to support or incentivize farmers to increase the environmental and social and economic resilience of their farms and communities. Therefore the introduction of such measures would be inappropriate.

Amendment  12

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 47

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(47) In order to contribute to the achievement of the aims of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability a EIP network should be set up in order to network operational groups, advisory services and researchers involved in the implementation of actions targeting innovation in agriculture. It should be financed as part of technical assistance at Union level.

(47) In order to contribute to the achievement of the aims of the EIP for agricultural productivity and sustainability an EIP network should be set up in order to network operational groups including advisory services, NGOs and researchers involved in the implementation of actions targeting innovation in agriculture. It should be financed as part of technical assistance at Union level.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a regulation

Article 3 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The EAFRD shall contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy by promoting sustainable rural development throughout the Union in a complementary manner to the other instruments of the common agricultural policy (hereinafter ‘CAP’), to cohesion policy and to the common fisheries policy. It shall contribute to a more territorially and environmentally balanced, climate-friendly and resilient and innovative Union agricultural sector.

The EAFRD shall contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy by promoting sustainable rural development throughout the Union in a complementary manner to the other instruments of the common agricultural policy (hereinafter ‘CAP’), to cohesion policy and to the common fisheries policy. It shall contribute to a more territorially and environmentally balanced, climate-friendly and resilient and innovative Union agricultural and forestry sector.

Amendment  14

Proposal for a regulation

Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1) the competitiveness of agriculture;

(1) the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry;

Justification

The objectives and priorities of the Rural Development policy shall contribute to achieving the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 2 – introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) enhancing competitiveness of all types of agriculture and enhancing farm viability, with a focus on the following areas:

(2) enhancing competitiveness of all types of agriculture and forestry and enhancing farm viability, with a focus on the following areas:

Amendment  16

Proposal for a regulation

Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2) the sustainable management of natural resources, and climate action;

(2) the sustainable management of natural resources, including water, soil, biodiversity, energy and measures to combat climate change and sustainable farming systems which adapt to the consequences of climate change;

Amendment  17

Proposal for a regulation

Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3a) a fair and decent standard of living for the local communities depending on rural activities;

Amendment  18

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 1 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) strengthening the links between agriculture and forestry and research and innovation;

(b) strengthening the links between sustainable practices in agriculture and forestry and research and innovation;

Amendment  19

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 1 – point c a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ca) strengthening and developing educational and support systems for young farmers;

Amendment  20

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 3 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) better integrating primary producers into the food chain through quality schemes, promotion in local markets and short supply circuits, producer groups and inter-branch organisations;

(a) better integrating primary producers and consumers into the food chain through quality schemes, promotion in local markets and short supply circuits, producer groups, producer-consumer groups and inter-branch organisations;

Amendment  21

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 –point 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3) promoting food chain organisation and risk management in agriculture, with a focus on the following areas:

(3) promoting food chain organisation in agriculture, with a focus on the following areas:

(a) better integrating primary producers into the food chain through quality schemes, promotion in local markets and short supply circuits, producer groups and inter-branch organisations;

(a) better integrating primary producers into the food chain through quality schemes, promotion in local markets and short supply circuits, producer groups and inter-branch organisations;

(b) supporting farm risk management;

 

Justification

There is no need to do extra support against risks in pillar 2, since pillar 1 already has an income support basis. If it has to be tackled anywhere in the legal texts, risk management should be tackled in pillar 1. It is important to stress that objective four is set to deliver environmental public goods and services.

Amendment  22

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 4 - introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry, with a focus on the following areas:

(4) restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry, and agro-ecological and agro-forestry systems, as well as fostering sound animal husbandry, with a focus on the delivery of environmental public goods and services in the following areas:

Amendment  23

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 4 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) restoring and preserving biodiversity, including in Natura 2000 areas and high nature value farming, and the state of European landscapes;

(a) restoring, preserving and sustainable use of biodiversity and on-farm genetic diversity, including in Natura 2000 areas and high nature value farming, and the state of European landscapes;

Amendment  24

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 4 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) improving soil management.

(c) improving soil structure, its resilience to erosion and extreme weather events, fertility and management.

Amendment  25

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 4 – point c a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ca) sound animal husbandry;

Justification

Sound animal husbandry includes both animal welfare and animal health. There is a need to further strengthen animal welfare and health in the EU. In line with the EU 2020 Strategy it would strengthen EU food production and hence its competitiveness. Sound animal husbandry also provides consumers with products that are produced in a resource effective and sustainable way. There is also a link between animal health and public health (zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance).

Amendment  26

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 5 – introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5) promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry sectors, with a focus on the following areas:

(5) promoting energy-saving and resource efficient use of agricultural resources and supporting the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry sectors, with a focus on the following areas:

Amendment  27

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 5 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) increasing efficiency in water use by agriculture;

(a) increasing efficiency, sustainability and saving of water use by agriculture;

Amendment  28

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 5 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) increasing efficiency in energy use in agriculture and food processing;

(b) increasing energy savings, efficiency and sustainability in energy use in agriculture and food processing;

Amendment  29

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 5 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) facilitating the supply and use of renewable sources of energy, of by-products, wastes, residues and other non food raw material for purposes of the bio-economy;

(c) facilitating the production, local supply and use of renewable sources of energy, of by-products, wastes, residues and other non food raw material for purposes of the bio-economy;

Amendment  30

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point 6 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) facilitating diversification, creation of new small enterprises and job creation;

(a) facilitating diversification, creation of new small enterprises, development of those which already exist and job creation;

Amendment  31

Proposal for a regulation

Article 5 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

All of the priorities shall contribute to the cross-cutting objectives of innovation, environment and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

All of the priorities shall contribute to the cross-cutting objectives of innovation, environment, public health and climate change mitigation and adaptation, while ensuring a high level of animal welfare.

Justification

Art 13 of the Treaty provides that the EU shall give full regard to the welfare of animals when adopting agriculture policies; the EU should ensure that innovative techniques and methods of production which mitigate greenhouse gas emissions do not have negative impacts on the welfare of producing animals.

Amendment  32

Proposal for a regulation

Article 6 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. There shall be consistency between support from the EAFRD and the measures financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund.

1. There shall be consistency between support from the EAFRD and the measures financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund, or other Union financial instruments.

Amendment  33

Proposal for a regulation

Article 8 – paragraph 1 – point b a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ba) tackling environmental challenges;

Justification

Environmental challenges facing the European Food and farming sector, as reflected in Union priorities 4 and 5, should be clearly signposted to Member States by encouraging them to include an environmental challenges sub-programme to address the growing problems in relation to preservation and enhancement of biodiversity, the protection of water bodies, healthy soils, etc.

Amendment  34

Proposal for a regulation

Article 8 – paragraph 1 – point b b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(bb) High Nature Value Farming systems;

Justification

Environmental challenges facing the European Food and farming sector, as reflected in Union priorities 4 and 5, should be clearly signposted to Member States by encouraging them to include an environmental challenges sub-programme to address the growing problems in relation to preservation and enhancement of biodiversity, the protection of water bodies, healthy soils, etc.

Amendment  35

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point b – subparagraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The analysis shall be structured around the Union priorities for rural development. Specific needs concerning the environment, climate change mitigation and adaptation and innovation shall be assessed across Union priorities for rural development, in view of identifying relevant responses in these two areas at the level of each priority;

The analysis shall be structured around the Union priorities for rural development and for the environment and it should be based on all existing environmental legislation and data. Specific needs concerning the environment, biodiversity and wild species, water and soil management, climate change mitigation and adaptation and innovation shall be assessed across Union priorities for rural development, in view of identifying relevant responses in these two areas at the level of each priority;

Justification

Without a strong SWOT analysis, it is more difficult to design specific measures. Furthermore the European Commission estimates that the failure to apply environmental legislation adequately costs the EU 50 billion euro annually in health and environmental costs. Preserving and stimulating High Nature Value farming is key to reaching biodiversity goals also outside of Natura 2000 areas, therefore it should be specifically mentioned.

Amendment  36

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 1– point c – point i

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(i) relevant combinations of measures are included in relation to the Union priorities for rural development included in the programme, logically following from the ex ante evaluation referred to in point (a) and the analysis referred to in point (b);

(i) relevant combinations of measures are included in relation to each of the Union priorities, logically following from the ex ante evaluation referred to in point (a) and the analysis referred to in point (b), to address environmental and climate challenges of global importance; Member States shall take into account measures under Article 29, 30, 31, 34 and 35 of this Regulation in developing their rural development programme;

Justification

Union priorities 4 and 5 clearly reflect the need to dramatically shift European farming practices towards a more sustainable path in future. It is, therefore, crucial that measures under agri-environment- climate, Organic farming, Natura 2000 and Water framework directive and animal welfare are compulsory measures under all EU rural development programmes in order to comprehensively drive ecological quality and ensure competitiveness and economic sustainability within and across Member States.

Amendment  37

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 1– point c – point iv

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(iv) a pertinent approach towards innovation, the environment, including the specific needs of Natura 2000 areas, and climate change mitigation and adaptation is integrated into the programme;

(iv) a pertinent approach towards innovation, the environment, including the specific needs of Natura 2000 areas, High Nature Value farming, organic farming, and climate change mitigation and adaptation is integrated into the programme;

Justification

Without a strong SWOT analysis, it is more difficult to design specific measures. Furthermore the European Commission estimates that the failure to apply environmental legislation adequately costs the EU 50 billion euro annually in health and environmental costs. Preserving and stimulating High Nature Value farming is key to reaching biodiversity goals also outside of Natura 2000 areas, therefore it should be specifically mentioned.

Amendment  38

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point m

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(m) information on the complementarity with measures financed by the other common agricultural policy instruments, through cohesion policy or by the EMFF;

(m) information on the complementarity with measures financed by the other common agricultural policy instruments, through cohesion policy or by the EMFF, and application of financing instruments referred to in Title IV of Regulation (EU) No. [CSF/2012].

Justification

Reference is made to the CSF Regulation, Title IV of which presents different kinds of financing instruments. To make sure that those instruments can also be used for Rural development (e.g. revolving funds), reference is made to Title IV.

Amendment  39

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 1– point p a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(pa) Member States shall at least maintain the level of efforts made during the 2007-2013 programming period and shall be required to spend a minimum of 35 % of the total contribution from the EAFRD to each rural development programme for climate change mitigation and adaptation and sustainable land management, through the agri-environment-climate, organic farming and Natura 2000 and Water framework directive payments, payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints measures, investments for improving the resilience and environmental value of forest ecosystems, forest-environmental and climate services and forest conservation.

Justification

In the current programming period, we have already 25% minimum spending for axis 2, this should not only be continued but increased to a minimum 35% spending. All specific environmental measures should be included (AEC, organic, Natura 2000, WFD, forest environment, etc.), however non-specific environmental measures (LFA) should not be counted.

Amendment  40

Proposal for a regulation

Article 9 – paragraph 1 – points p a - p c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(pa) the minimum size of forest holdings for which support shall be conditional on the submission of a forest management plan or an equivalent instrument, and the selected biodiversity measures which should be included in the forest management plan;

 

(pb) the designation of areas and land types that can be afforested to avoid negative impacts for biodiversity, the environment or grassland habitats;

 

(pc) a standard for good forest practices which will be the baseline for support of forest measures under the Rural Development Regulation.

Amendment  41

Proposal for a regulation

Article 15 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Support may also cover short-term farm management exchange and farm visit.

Support may also cover short-term farm and forest management exchange and farm visit.

Amendment  42

Proposal for a regulation

Article 16 – paragraph 1 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) help farmers, forest holders and SMEs in rural areas benefit from the use of advisory services for the improvement of the economic and environmental performance as well as the climate friendliness and resilience of their holding, enterprise and/or investment;

(a) help farmers, forest holders and SMEs in rural areas benefit from the use of advisory services for the improvement of the economic and environmental performance as well as the climate friendliness, animal welfare and resilience of their holding, enterprise and/or investment, and to help farmers with the processing and marketing of their produce;

Justification

To be in line with the new animal welfare strategy 2012-2015, which provides for increased synergies with the CAP, animal welfare should be fully considered in advisory services, also as being fully part of sustainable farming.

Amendment  43

Proposal for a regulation

Article 16 – paragraph 1 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) promote the training of advisors.

(c) promote the training of advisors with the specific goal to promote advanced sustainable farming systems, such as organic farming.

Amendment  44

Proposal for a regulation

Article 16 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The authorities or bodies selected to provide advice shall have the appropriate resources in the form of regularly trained and qualified staff and advisory experience and reliability with respect to the fields they advise in. The beneficiaries shall be chosen through calls for proposals. The selection procedure shall be objective and be open to public as well as to private bodies.

The authorities or bodies selected to provide advice shall have the appropriate resources in the form of regularly trained and qualified staff and advisory experience and reliability with respect to the fields they advise in. The beneficiaries shall be chosen through calls for proposals. The selection procedure shall be objective and be open to public as well as to cooperative and private bodies.

Amendment  45

Proposal for a regulation

Article 16 – paragraph 4 – introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

4. Advice to farmers shall be linked to at least one Union priority for rural development and shall cover as a minimum one of the following elements:

4. Advice to farmers shall be linked to at least one Union priority for rural development and shall cover the following elements:

Justification

In order to ensure the efficiency of farm advisory services, access to comprehensive information must be available across all Member States to support the move towards more sustainable farming practices. Organic farming is well placed to deliver beyond environmental and climate requirements and drive sustainable agriculture production. As conversion to organic farming is a major commitment and requires new expertise. Therefore organic farming must be explicitly recognised under the FAS at a minimum.

Amendment  46

Proposal for a regulation

Article 16 – paragraph 4 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) one or more of the statutory management requirements and/or standards for good agricultural and environmental conditions provided for in Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012;

(a) the statutory management requirements and standards for good agricultural and environmental conditions provided for in Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012;

Justification

In order to ensure the efficiency of farm advisory services, access to comprehensive information must be available across all Member States to support the move towards more sustainable farming practices. Organic farming is well placed to deliver beyond environmental and climate requirements and drive sustainable agriculture production. As conversion to organic farming is a major commitment and requires new expertise. Therefore organic farming must be explicitly recognised under the FAS at a minimum.

Amendment  47

Proposal for a regulation

Article 16 – paragraph 4 – point d

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(d) the sustainable development of the economical activity of the small farms as defined by the Member States and at least of the farms participating in the Small farmers scheme referred to in Title V of Regulation (EU) No DP/2012; or

(d) the sustainable development¸ environmental performance, and economic activity of organic farming, as a minimum, referred to in Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, and of small farms as defined by the Member States and at least of the farms participating in the Small farmers scheme referred to in Title V of Regulation (EU) No DP/2012; or

Justification

In order to ensure the efficiency of farm advisory services, access to comprehensive information must be available across all Member States to support the move towards more sustainable farming practices. Organic farming is well placed to deliver beyond environmental and climate requirements and drive sustainable agriculture production. As conversion to organic farming is a major commitment and requires new expertise. Therefore organic farming must be explicitly recognised under the FAS at a minimum.

Amendment  48

Proposal for a regulation

Article 17 – paragraph 1 – introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Support under this measure shall cover new participation by farmers in:

1. Support under this measure shall cover new participation by individual farmers and producer groups or producer organisations in:

Amendment  49

Proposal for a regulation

Article 17 – paragraph 1 – point b – point i

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

i) the specificity of the final product under such schemes is derived from clear obligations to guarantee:

i) the specificity of the final product under such schemes is derived from clear obligations to guarantee:

- specific product characteristics, or

- specific product characteristics, or

- specific farming or production methods, or

- specific farming or production methods and environment-friendly farming, or

- a quality of the final product that goes significantly beyond the commercial commodity standards as regards public, animal or plant health, animal welfare or environmental protection;

- a quality of the final product that goes significantly beyond the commercial commodity standards as regards not only public, animal or plant health, animal welfare or environmental protection, but also sustainable resource management, CO2 reduction and freedom from genetic modification;

Amendment  50

Proposal for a regulation

Article 17 – paragraph 1 – point b – point i – indent 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

- short and local food supply chains, or

Amendment  51

Proposal for a regulation

Article 17 – paragraph 1 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) voluntary agricultural product certification schemes recognised by the Member States as meeting the Union best practice guidelines for the operation of voluntary certification schemes relating to agricultural products and foodstuffs.

(c) voluntary agricultural product certification schemes recognised by the Member States as meeting the Union best practice guidelines for the operation of voluntary certification schemes relating to agricultural products and foodstuffs with the exclusion of schemes certifying compliance with baseline legal requirements only.

Justification

it is not acceptable to provide public money to ensure that the law is being respected. Rural Development subsidies should only be given for the production of public goods, which are produced thanks to the respect of significantly higher environmental or animal welfare standards, for example.

Amendment  52

Proposal for a regulation

Article 18 – heading

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Investment in physical assets

Investment in physical assets for sustainable, healthy, climate-friendly and animal-welfare-friendly production

Amendment  53

Proposal for a regulation

Article 18 – paragraph 1 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) improve the overall performance of the agricultural holding;

(a) significantly improve the agricultural operation with regard to sustainability, health benefits, climate and animal friendly production;

Amendment  54

Proposal for a regulation

Article 18 – paragraph 1 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) concern infrastructure related to the development and adaptation of agriculture, including access to farm and forest land, land consolidation and improvement, energy supply and, water management; or

(c) concern environmentally friendly infrastructure related to the development and adaptation of agriculture, including access to farm and forest land, land consolidation and improvement, energy saving and supply and, water management, in accordance with priorities 4 and 5; or

Amendment  55

Proposal for a regulation

Article 18 – paragraph 1 – point d

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(d) are non productive investments linked to the achievement of agri- and forest- environment commitments, biodiversity conservation status of species and habitat as well as enhancing the public amenity value of a Natura 2000 area or other high nature value area to be defined in the programme.

(d) are non productive investments linked to the achievement of agri - and forest- environment commitments, biodiversity conservation status of species and habitat, environment-friendly/organic farming and animal welfare, as well as enhancing the public amenity value of a Natura 2000 area or other high nature value area to be defined in the programme as well as commitments related to implementation of Directives 2009/147/EC, 92/42/EEC and 2000/60/EC, including initial investigations and feasibility studies; this shall include investment for specific quality schemes in accordance with Article 17.

 

(da) are non productive investments which are necessary to comply with mandatory requirements linked to the abovementioned directives.

Amendment  56

Proposal for a regulation

Article 18 – paragraph 1 – point d a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(da) concern the use of biological control measures as a means of reducing or mitigating pests and pest effects such as the use of natural enemies and natural plant strengtheners, in the event that these measures are more expensive, on an annual basis, than their chemical counterparts.

Justification

Physical investment measures can be very damaging if not counterbalanced by environmental safeguards. Biological control is currently not competitive enough in comparison with normal pesticides. However, this is a real innovative way forward to decrease pesticide use, while still having a good pest control.

Amendment  57

Proposal for a regulation

Article 18 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Support under paragraph 1(a) shall be granted to agricultural holdings. In the case of investments to support farm restructuring, only farms not exceeding a certain size, to be defined by the Member States in the programme based on the SWOT analysis carried out in relation to the Union priority for rural development ‘enhancing competitiveness of all types of agriculture and enhancing farm viability’, shall be eligible.

deleted

Amendment  58

Proposal for a regulation

Article 18 – paragraph 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

4a. For forest holdings above a certain size, to be determined by the Member States in the programme, support for investments on forest land shall be conditional on the submission of a forest management plan or equivalent instrument including biodiversity measures. These biodiversity measures should comply with sustainable forest management as defined by the Ministerial conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe of 1993 (hereinafter “sustainable forest management”).

Justification

Specifically investments on forest land can have a very negative impact on biodiversity.

Amendment  59

Proposal for a regulation

Article 19

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 Article 19

 deleted

 Restoring agricultural production potential damaged by natural disasters and catastrophic events and introduction of appropriate prevention actions

 

 1. Support under this measure shall cover:

 

 (a) investments in preventive actions aimed at reducing the consequences of probable natural disasters and catastrophic events;

 

 (b) investments for the restoration of agricultural land and production potential damaged by natural disasters and catastrophic events.

 

 2. Support shall be granted to farmers or groups of farmers. Support may also be granted to public entities where a link between the investment undertaken by such entities and agricultural production potential is established.

 

Support under paragraph 1(b) shall be subject to the formal recognition by the competent public authorities of Member States that a natural disaster has occurred and that this disaster or measures adopted in accordance with Directive 2000/29/EC to eradicate or contain a plant disease or pest has caused the destruction of at least 30% of the relevant agricultural potential.

 

4. No support under this measure shall be granted for loss of income resulting from the natural disaster or catastrophic event.

 

Member States shall ensure that overcompensation as a result of the combination of this measure and other national or Union support instruments or private insurance schemes is avoided.

 

5. Support under paragraph 1(a) shall be limited to the maximum support rate laid down in Annex I. This maximum rate shall not apply to collective projects by more than one beneficiary.

 

 6. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the definition of eligible costs under this measure.

 

Justification

This measure does not comply with the goals of the programme and is clearly an income support measure. Further, insurance issues should be handled by the market and not via tax payers money. Therefore it rather belongs in Pillar1 than Pillar 2.

Amendment  60

Proposal for a regulation

Article 20 – paragraph 4 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Support under paragraph 1(a) shall be conditional on the submission of a business plan. Implementation of the business plan has to start within six months from the date of the decision granting the aid.

Support under paragraph 1(a) shall be conditional on the submission of a business plan including an impact assessment for improved environmental performance. Implementation of the business plan has to start within six months from the date of the decision granting the aid.

Amendment  61

Proposal for a regulation

Article 20 – paragraph 7 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

7a. Member States shall take into account the social and environmental conditions of the rural areas concerned before putting this measure in place.

Justification

There is a chance that this measure on farm and business development will be used to restructure a lot of farm businesses and rural areas across Europe. In order to ensure socially, ecologically and economically responsible farm and business development that increases economic viability, delivers on the environment and promotes social cohesion in rural communities, Member States must clearly consider the social and environmental impacts of restructuring.

Amendment  62

Proposal for a regulation

Article 21 – paragraph 1 – point d

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(d) investments in the setting-up, improvement or expansion of local basic services for the rural population, including leisure and culture, and the related infrastructure;

(d) investments in the setting-up, improvement or expansion of local basic services for the rural population, including leisure and culture, and the related infrastructure, in particular healthcare and prevention facilities;

Justification

In accordance with the Europe 2020 strategy, it will be possible to create high-quality jobs (doctors, chemists and nurses, etc.) and thus to boost employment rates. This proposal will also ensure regional access to health facilities.

Amendment  63

Proposal for a regulation

Article 21 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Support under this measure shall only concern small-scale infrastructure, as defined by each Member State in the programme. However, rural development programmes may provide for specific derogations from this rule for investments in broadband and renewable energy. In this case, clear criteria ensuring complementarity with support under other Union instruments shall be provided.

2. Support under this measure shall concern small-scale infrastructure, as defined by each Member State in the programme. However, rural development programmes may provide for specific derogations from this rule for investments in broadband renewable energy, except for unsustainable biomass, biogas and land based biofuels, and healthcare and prevention facilities. In this case, clear criteria ensuring complementarity with support under other Union instruments shall be provided.

Justification

Over the last couple of years, a lot of additional evidence showed that large scale biomass and land based biofuels can be unsustainable. Therefore, it is important to highlight that not all large scale renewable energy projects are beneficial or sustainable.

Amendment  64

Proposal for a regulation

Article 21 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 21a)

 

Enhancement of biodiversity in rural areas

 

1. Support under this measure shall concern:

 

(a) the drawing-up and updating of protection and management plans relating to NATURA 2000 sites and other places of high natural value including action plans for species protection which are linked to rural areas;

 

(b) studies, environmental awareness actions, and investments associated with awareness actions or the maintenance, restoration and upgrading of natural heritage features such as restoring and establishing rivers or other linear and continuous structures or their function as stepping stones which are essential for the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species.

 

2. Investments under paragraph 1(b) shall be eligible for support where the relevant operations are implemented in accordance with management plans or other nature protection plans where the investments are clearly linked to objectives supporting the Union biodiversity strategy to 2020.

Justification

Natura 2000, areas of high nature value farming and the water framework directive require specific measures with which projects can be put in place to implement the requirements set by the Union through the biodiversity strategy and the Water Framework Directive.

Amendment  65

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – heading

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Investments in forest area development and improvement of the viability of forests

Investments in environmentally sustainable forest area development and improvement of the viability of forests

Amendment  66

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – paragraph 1 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) afforestation and creation of woodland;

(a) environmentally sustainable afforestation and environmentally sustainable creation of woodland according to the relevant bioclimatic zone;

Amendment  67

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – paragraph 1 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) establishment of agro-forestry systems;

(b) establishment of environmentally sustainable agro-forestry and silvo-pastoral systems;

Amendment  68

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – paragraph 1 – point b a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ba) equipment or infrastructure to prevent forest fires, for woodland areas classified as being at medium to high risk of fire; the support provided for this purpose shall be granted in accordance with Article 25. In order to be eligible for support for this purpose, Member States shall be required to earmark cofinancing for equipment or infrastructure to prevent forest fires in the said areas;

Justification

It is often the same areas of woodland that catch fire, because no prevention strategy has been implemented. It is not reasonable to grant public support several times in succession for the same areas. It is therefore necessary to separate restoration necessitated by a fire from prevention and to make the latter the priority and the precondition for any forestry measure in areas at high or medium risk identified in each Member State, and for any agreement to provide funding.

Amendment  69

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – paragraph 1 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) prevention and restoration of damage to forests from forest fires and natural disasters, including pest and disease outbreaks, catastrophic events and climate related threats;

(c) restoration of damage to forests from forest fires and natural disasters, including pest and disease outbreaks, catastrophic events and climate related threats;

Amendment  70

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – paragraph 1 – point e

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(e) investments in new forestry technologies and in processing and marketing of forest products.

(e) investments in environmentally sustainable forestry technologies and in processing and marketing of forest products.

Amendment  71

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Limitations on ownership of forests provided for in Articles 36 to 40 shall not apply for the tropical or subtropical forests and for the wooded areas of the territories of the Azores, Madeira, the Canary islands, the smaller Aegean islands within the meaning of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93 and the French overseas departments.

Limitations on ownership of forests provided for in Articles 23 to 27 shall not apply for the tropical or subtropical forests and for the wooded areas of the territories of the Azores, Madeira, the Canary islands, the smaller Aegean islands within the meaning of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93and the French overseas departments. Limitations on ownership provided for in Articles 23-27 shall not apply to support for environmental reasons such as protection against erosion or extension of forest resources contributing to climate change mitigation.

Amendment  72

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

For holdings above a certain size, to be determined by the Member States in the programme, support shall be conditional on the submission of a forest management plan or equivalent instrument in line with sustainable forest management as defined by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe of 19931 (hereinafter "sustainable forest management").

For holdings above a certain size, to be determined by the Member States in the programme, support shall be conditional on the submission of a forest management plan or equivalent instrument including biodiversity measures and in line with sustainable forest management as defined by the Ministerial conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe of 19931 (hereinafter “sustainable forest management).

Justification

This measure has too often in the past been implemented without taking into account the environment. Therefore, it should be specifically mentioned to ensure no harm is done in terms of the environment. In order to support the targets in the EU Biodiversity Strategy, forest management plans should include specific biodiversity measures.

Amendment  73

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – paragraph 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3a) All actions must be coherent with the environmental objectives of the CAP.

Justification

The measure: “Investments in forest area development and improved viability of forests” has too often in the past been implemented without taking into account the environment, therefore it should be specifically mentioned to ensure that no harm is done to the environment.

Amendment  74

Proposal for a regulation

Article 22 – paragraph 3 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3b) Support for forest measures should be based on a standard for good forest practices.

Justification

Only sustainable forest management practices are supported.

Amendment  75

Proposal for a regulation

Article 23 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Support under Article 22(1)(a) shall be granted to private land-owners and tenants, municipalities and their associations and shall cover the costs of establishment and an annual premium per hectare to cover the costs of maintenance, including early and late cleanings, for a maximum period of ten years.

1. Support under Article 22(1)(a) shall be granted to land-owners and tenants, municipalities and their associations, and other land managers and shall cover the costs of establishment and an annual premium per hectare to cover the costs of maintenance, including early and late cleanings, for a maximum period of 15 years.

Amendment  76

Proposal for a regulation

Article 23 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Both agricultural and non-agricultural land shall be eligible. Species planted shall be adapted to the environmental and climatic conditions of the area and answer to minimum environmental requirements. No support shall be granted for the planting of short rotation coppice, Christmas trees or fast growing trees for energy production. In areas where afforestation is made difficult by severe pedo-climatic conditions support may be provided for planting other perennial woody species such as shrubs or bushes suitable to the local conditions.

2. Both agricultural and non-agricultural land shall be eligible. Species planted shall be adapted to the environmental and climatic conditions of the area, answer to minimum environmental requirements and shall be consistent with the relevant bioclimatic zone. No support shall be granted for the planting of short rotation coppice, Christmas trees or fast growing trees for energy production. In areas where afforestation is made difficult by severe pedo-climatic conditions support may be provided for planting other perennial woody species such as shrubs or bushes suitable to the local conditions.

Amendment  77

Proposal for a regulation

Article 23 – paragraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2a. Member States shall designate areas suitable for afforestation to ensure planting will not have a detrimental impact on the environment or biodiversity.

Justification

It is important to rule out all harmful planting of both the wrong species and in the wrong place.

Amendment  78

Proposal for a regulation

Article 23 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the definition of the minimum environmental requirements referred to in paragraph 2.

3. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 90 concerning the definition of the minimum environmental requirements referred to in paragraph 2. Minimum environmental requirements shall follow the typologies of the European Environment Agency, covering all the different types of European forests.

Amendment  79

Proposal for a regulation

Article 24 – title

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Establishment of agro-forestry systems

Establishment of agro-forestry and silvo-pastoral systems

Amendment  80

Proposal for a regulation

Article 24 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. ‘Agro-forestry systems’ shall mean land use systems in which trees are grown in combination with extensive agriculture on the same land. The maximum number of trees to be planted per hectare shall be determined by the Member States taking account of local pedo-climatic conditions, forestry species and the need to ensure agricultural use of the land.

2. ‘Agro-forestry systems’ shall mean land use systems in which trees are grown in combination with agriculture on the same land. The maximum number of trees to be planted per hectare shall be determined by the Member States taking account of local pedo-climatic conditions, forestry species and the need to ensure agricultural use of the land.

Amendment  81

Proposal for a regulation

Article 25 – paragraph 1 – introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Support under Article 22(1)(c) shall be granted to private, semi public and public forest owners, municipalities, state forests and their associations and shall cover the costs for:

1. Support under Article 22(1)(b)a shall be granted to private, semi public and public forest owners, municipalities, state forests and their associations and shall cover the costs for:

Amendment  82

Proposal for a regulation

Article 25 – paragraph 1 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) the establishment of protective infrastructure. In the case of firebreaks support may also cover aid contributing to maintenance costs. No support shall be granted for agricultural related activities in areas covered by agri-environment commitments;

(a) the establishment of preventive infrastructure (tracks, water points, ditches, firebreaks) constituting a network to protect an area of woodland in accordance with local or regional forest fire prevention plans. No support shall be granted for agriculture-related activities, particularly in areas covered by agri-environment commitments;

Amendment  83

Proposal for a regulation

Article 25 – paragraph 1 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) local, small scale prevention activities against fire or other natural hazards;

(b) local, small scale prevention activities against fire or other natural hazards; the support shall be granted to these activities only insofar as they are compatible with local or regional forest fire prevention plans;

Amendment  84

Proposal for a regulation

Article 25 – paragraph 1 – points c and d

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) establishing and improving forest fire, pest and diseases monitoring facilities and communication equipment;

(c) establishing and improving facilities for forecasting and monitoring risks of forest fires, pests and diseases, and communication equipment in woodland areas;

(d) restoring forest potential damaged from fires and other natural disasters including pests, diseases as well as catastrophic events and climate change related events.

 

Amendment  85

Proposal for a regulation

Article 25 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Forest areas classified as medium to high forest fire risk according to the forest protection plan established by the Member States shall be eligible for support relating to forest fire prevention.

In accordance with Article 22(1)(b)a, forest areas classified as medium to high forest fire risk according to the forest protection plan established by the Member States shall be eligible for support relating to forest fire prevention. Support under Article 22(1)(c) shall be granted only if the support provided for by Article 22(1)(b)a has previously been granted.

Amendment  86

Proposal for a regulation

Article 25 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. Support under paragraph 1(d) shall be subject to the formal recognition by the competent public authorities of Member States that a natural disaster has occurred and that this disaster, or measures adopted in accordance with Directive 2000/29/EC to eradicate or contain a plant disease or pest has caused the destruction of at least 30% of the relevant forest potential. This percentage shall be determined on the basis of either the average existing forest potential in the three-year period immediately preceding the disaster or on the average of the five-year period immediately preceding the disaster, excluding the highest and the lowest entry.

deleted

Justification

The third paragraph is moved to Article 26.

Amendment  87

Proposal for a regulation

Article 25 – paragraph 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

4. No support under this measure shall be granted for loss of income resulting from the natural disaster.

deleted

Member States shall ensure that overcompensation as a result of the combination of this measure and other national or Union support instruments or private insurance schemes is avoided.

 

Justification

The fourth paragraph is moved to Article 26.

Amendment  88

Proposal for a regulation

Article 26 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Support under Article 22(1)(d) shall be granted to natural persons, private forest owners, private law and semi-public bodies, municipalities and their associations. In the case of state forests support may also be granted to bodies managing such forests, which are independent from the state budget.

1. Support under Article 22(1)(c) and (d) shall be granted to natural persons, private forest owners, private law and semi-public bodies, municipalities and their associations. In the case of state forests support may also be granted to bodies managing such forests, which are independent from the state budget.

Amendment  89

Proposal for a regulation

Article 26 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Investments shall be aimed at the achievement of commitments undertaken for environmental aims or providing ecosystem services and/or which enhance the public amenity value of forest and wooded land in the area concerned or improve the climate change mitigation potential of ecosystems, without excluding economic benefits in the long term.

2. Investments shall be aimed at:

 

(a) restoring forest potential damaged by fires and other natural disasters, including those caused by pests, diseases and climate change, and catastrophic events;

 

(b) the achievement of commitments undertaken for environmental aims or providing ecosystem services and/or which enhance the public amenity value of forest and wooded land in the area concerned or improve the climate change mitigation potential of ecosystems, without excluding economic benefits in the long term.

Amendment  90

Proposal for a regulation

Article 26 – paragraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2a. Support under paragraph 2(a) shall be subject to the formal recognition by the competent public authorities of Member States that a natural disaster has occurred and that this disaster, or measures adopted in accordance with Directive 2000/29/EC to eradicate or contain a plant disease or pest, has caused the destruction of at least 30% of the relevant forest potential. This percentage shall be determined on the basis of either the average existing forest potential in the three-year period immediately preceding the disaster or the average of the five-year period immediately preceding the disaster, excluding the highest and the lowest entry.

Amendment  91

Proposal for a regulation

Article 26 – paragraph 2 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2b. No support under paragraph 2(a) shall be granted for loss of income resulting from the natural disaster. Member States shall ensure that overcompensation as a result of the combination of this measure and other national or Union support instruments or private insurance schemes is avoided.

Amendment  92

Proposal for a regulation

Article 27 – heading

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Investments in new forestry technologies and in processing and marketing of forestry products

investments in environmentally sustainable forestry technologies and in processing and marketing of forest products

Amendment  93

Proposal for a regulation

Article 27 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Support under Article 22(1)(e) shall be granted to private forest owners, municipalities and their associations and to SMEs for investments enhancing forestry potential or relating to processing and marketing adding value to forest products. In the territories of the Azores, Madeira, the Canary islands, the smaller Aegean islands within the meaning of Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93 and the French overseas departments support may also be granted to enterprises that are not SMEs.

1. Support under Article 22(1)(e) shall be granted to private forest owners, municipalities and their associations and to SMEs for investments in environmentally sustainable forestry technologies or relating to processing and marketing adding value to forest products. In the territories of the Azores, Madeira, the Canary islands, the smaller Aegean islands within the meaning of Regulation (EEC) No 2019/93 and the French overseas departments support may also be granted to enterprises that are not SMEs.

Amendment  94

Proposal for a regulation

Article 27 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Investments related to the improvement of the economic value of forests shall be at the level of the forest holding and may include investments for soil and resource friendly harvesting machinery and practices.

2. Investments related to the improvement of the environmental value of forests shall be at the level of the forest holding and may include investments for soil and resource friendly harvesting machinery and practices of particular environmental value.

Amendment  95

Proposal for a regulation

Article 29 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. Agri-environment-climate payments cover only those commitments going beyond the relevant mandatory standards established pursuant to Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 and other relevant obligations established under Chapter 2 of Title III of Regulation (EU) No DP/2012, relevant minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products use as well as other relevant mandatory requirements established by national legislation. All such mandatory requirements shall be identified in the programme.

3. Agri-environment-climate payments cover only those commitments going significantly beyond the relevant mandatory standards established pursuant to Chapter I of Title VI of Regulation (EU) No HR/2012 and other relevant obligations established under Chapter 2 of Title III of Regulation (EU) No DP/2012, relevant minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products use as well as other relevant mandatory requirements established by national legislation. All such mandatory requirements shall be identified in the programme.

Amendment  96

Proposal for a regulation

Article 29 – paragraph 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

5. Commitments under this measure shall be undertaken for a period of five to seven years. However, where necessary in order to achieve or maintain the environmental benefits sought, Member States may determine a longer period in their rural development programmes for particular types of commitments, including by means of providing for their annual extension after the termination of the initial period.

5. Commitments under this measure shall be undertaken for a period determined in the programme and established with a maximum of flexibility concerning the support period. However, where necessary in order to achieve or maintain the environmental benefits sought, Member States may determine a longer period in their rural development programmes for particular types of commitments, including by means of providing for their annual extension after the termination of the initial period. Member States may also determine a shorter period in the rural development programmes for particular types of commitments, if shown that the environmental benefits are not compromised. Member States may determine the period to last permanently if the commitments are written in easements on future use of the land to be recorded in a national land register.

Justification

Many farmers do not want to commit to certain measures under a 5 year period, the result being a potential loss of environmental benefit. One year commitments should be allowed if the MS can prove that the environmental or climate effects will not be jeopardized. Such commitments could be feasible for eg: pesticide free farming (spraying with most pesticides only have effect the same year and will be ineffective for combating pests the next year).

Amendment  97

Proposal for a regulation

Article 29 – paragraph 8 – subparagraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

No support under this measure may be granted for commitments that are covered under the organic farming measure.

No support under this measure may be granted for commitments that are covered under the organic farming measure. No support under this measure may be granted for commitments that are beneficial for climate but have a negative impact on the environment.

Justification

First, it is important that the addition of the climate issues in the agri-environment measures will have a positive impact. Secondly, there are concerns that a new baseline will disrupt the transition between the old and the new agri-environment measures. Specific attention should be therefore given to ensure that uptake and impact of the schemes does not decrease. Third, it is also important that there is a guarantee for these measures to continue until the end of the programming period.

Amendment  98

Proposal for a regulation

Article 29 – paragraph 9

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

9. Support may be provided for the conservation of genetic resources in agriculture for operations not covered by the provisions under paragraphs 1 to 8.

9. Support may be provided for the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources in agriculture for operations not covered by the provisions under paragraphs 1 to 8.

Amendment  99

Proposal for a regulation

Article 29 – paragraph 10 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

10a. Based on the ex-ante evaluation, Member States should favour agri-environmental measures which have increased environmental performance at farm and regional level when developing new or existing environmental schemes under the next programming period in order to maintain the uptake, and further increase the impact, of the schemes.

Justification

First, it is important that the addition of the climate issues in the agri-environment measures will have a positive impact. Secondly, there are concerns that a new baseline will disrupt the transition between the old and the new agri-environment measures. Specific attention should be therefore given to ensure that uptake and impact of the schemes does not decrease. Third, it is also important that there is a guarantee for these measures to continue until the end of the programming period.

Amendment  100

Proposal for a regulation

Article 29 – paragraph 10 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

10b. Member States shall facilitate the entry of farmers into environmental schemes until the end of the programming period if the objectives are not achieved yet.

Justification

First, it is important that the addition of the climate issues in the agri-environment measures will have a positive impact. Secondly, there are concerns that a new baseline will disrupt the transition between the old and the new agri-environment measures. Specific attention should be therefore given to ensure that uptake and impact of the schemes does not decrease. Third, it is also important that there is a guarantee for these measures to continue until the end of the programming period.

Amendment  101

Proposal for a regulation

Article 30 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Support under this measure shall be granted, per hectare of UAA, to farmers or groups of farmers who undertake, on a voluntary basis to convert to or maintain organic farming practices and methods as defined in Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007.

1. Support under this measure shall be granted, per hectare of UAA, to farmers or groups of farmers who undertake, on a voluntary basis to convert to or maintain organic farming practices and methods as defined in Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007. Inclusion of this measure in rural development programmes shall be compulsory.

Amendment  102

Proposal for a regulation

Article 30 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. Commitments under this measure shall be undertaken for a period of five to seven years. Where support is granted for the maintenance of organic farming, Member States may provide in their rural development programmes for annual extension after the termination of the initial period.

3. Commitments under this measure shall be undertaken for a period of five to seven years. Member States shall establish a mechanism to incentivise farmers in taking part in the follow-up measure after 2020 in order to encourage the uptake of this measure also after 2015. Where support is granted for the maintenance of organic farming, Member States may provide in their rural development programmes for annual extension after the termination of the initial period.

Amendment  103

Proposal for a regulation

Article 30 – paragraph 5 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

5a. Member States shall set out in their rural development programmes how this measure can be combined with other measures in the Regulation, with specific reference to Articles 17, 18, 28, 29, 31, 36 to expand organic farming and to deliver on environment and rural economic development objectives.

Justification

The regulation should clearly outline the ability for the recipients of organic farming support to combine the organic measure with additional measure set out in the regulation. To this end Member States must be compelled to outline in their rural development program how best to combine measures in order to meet environmental and rural economic development objectives taking into account the European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming EU Organic Action Plan.

Amendment  104

Proposal for a regulation

Article 31 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Support under this measure shall be granted annually and per hectare o