EU farm policy reform as approved by Parliament  


Following the political agreement on EU farm policy reform struck by Parliament, the Council and the Commission in two steps - in June and September 2013, MEPs approved the final form of the post-2013 common agricultural policy (CAP) on Wednesday. Most of the new rules will enter into force on 1 January 2014.

This is the first reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) shaped by Parliament as a full co-legislator with EU member states.

This background details the agreement on:

• who should get EU-funded direct payments,
• how to make distribution of EU funds fairer
• the measures that farmers should take to protect the environment better,
• how best to help young and small farmers,
• how to strengthen farmers' price bargaining position, and
• how to improve spending controls while cutting red tape.

NB: "direct payments" are payments granted directly to farmers under certain support schemes, such as the current Single Payment Scheme and the Single Area Payment Scheme, which will be replaced by a new system of payments when this reform is implemented.

These payments provide farmers with a safety net in the form of a basic income support, decoupled from production, to shield their income against increasing market volatility and the vagaries of the weather, to which farming industry is so vulnerable. By linking direct payment receipts to certain environmental conditions, they also help to ensure that basic public goods are delivered through sustainable farming.