Transition to new EU farm policy: MEPs approve key provisions for after 2020  

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  • EU farm subsidies and rural development funding to continue uninterrupted 
  • flexible transition period to last for up to two years 
  • rejection of any cuts in the EU farm policy budget 

Parliament’s Agriculture Committee endorsed the second batch of rules to ensure a smooth transition from current EU farm policy rules, expiring at the end of the year, to the future ones.

The new EU law, approved in the committee unanimously by 48 votes in favour on Tuesday, extends the application of existing Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) rules, which are due to expire at the end of 2020. It ensures the continuation of payments to farmers and rural development beneficiaries and provides predictability and stability for the sector.


Flexible transition period of up to two years


The duration of the transitional period, starting on 1 January 2021, should be by default one year, MEPs say, endorsing thus, in principle, the Commission’s proposal. But they insist on introducing a flexible mechanism to prolong this period by another year, which should be triggered automatically unless the future EU’s long-term budget (MFF) and EU farm policy are agreed and approved by 30 October.


No cuts to the EU farm policy budget


The approved text reiterates Parliament’s opposition to any CAP-related budget cuts. MEPs insist that the funding of the EU-27 farm policy must be maintained at the 2014-2020 level in real terms. If the transitional law enters into force before the deal on the future MFF is reached, national ceilings for direct payments, rural development and sectoral support in 2021 and potentially in 2022 should be based on those in the EU’s 2020 budget, they say.


Fresh money for crisis reserve, easier access to compensations


MEPs repeated their call to finance the agricultural crisis reserve from outside the CAP budget. They also want to ease access to compensations for severe income drops and for losses caused by adverse climatic events, outbreaks of animal or plant diseases or pest infestations.


Quote

“Keeping this file on track and on time has been my key priority, since this will be in the best interests of farmers in these crisis driven times. Farmers need predictability, stability and financial continuity and a clear horizon for the upcoming two years,” said rapporteur Elsi Katainen (RE, FI).


Next steps


The text approved by the Agriculture Committee will now be submitted to the 13 - 14 May plenary to seek MEPs’ green light for negotiations with EU ministers.

Background

The approved regulation is the second of two proposals tabled by the European Commission to ensure a smooth transition to the post-2020 CAP. The first set of transitional rules was approved by the Parliament in December 2019.


Parliament warned in its 10 October resolution that delaying the future EU’s long-term budget would harm EU citizens and businesses and urged the Commission to table a contingency plan to avoid disruptions in EU funding to beneficiaries.


The CAP reform is closely linked to the work on the EU’s long-term 2021-2027 budget. The future EU farm policy laws will be co-decided by the European Parliament and Council of the EU (agricultural ministers).



Type of document: Regulation