Tuesday, June 28

The Twenty-seven give the green light to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy

Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture.

Luis Planas, Minister of Agriculture.

The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) agreed last Friday between the negotiators of the Council (governments) and the European Parliament already has the green light from the ministers of agriculture of the EU. The Twenty-seven have approved this Monday the three regulations that will promote a greener, fairer and more effective policy in the future, and which includes for the first time the so-called ecoesquemas to incentivize farmers to use greener agricultural practices. The new CAP will begin to apply in 2023 and European governments will have until the end of this year to present national strategic plans to the European Commission.

“It is the biggest reform of the CAP since the 90s and seeks to guarantee a more sustainable, fair and inclusive European food system,” said the Portuguese Minister of Agriculture and President of the Council in turn. Maria do Céu Antunes. “Thanks to the reform, the future CAP will improve the environment, the climate and the welfare of animals and will be more favorable for farmers”, has valued the commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski He recalled that the current problem is that agriculture “is increasingly intensive”, with a very large number of farms lost in recent years, a total of 4 million small farms in 10 years. “This is negative. You have to protect them, give them an opportunity, not only to exist but also to develop ”, he indicated.

The main novelty of the reform revolves around the creation of so-called eco-schemes. It is a new instrument designed to encourage and reward ranchers and farmers who use practices that are beneficial to the environment and the climate in their production, such as fallow, organic or precision agriculture, among others. Whoever chooses this type of internship may be eligible for more grants than the rest. According to the regulation, 25% of direct aid from the CAP – halfway between the 20% demanded by the governments and the 30% demanded by the European Parliament – will have to be destined to eco-schemes, although there will be a period of flexibility during the first two years.

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Support for young farmers

The new regulations also include requirements to improve support for young farmers and small farms as well as working conditions. For example, there will not be a maximum cap of 100,000 euros per farm but Member States will have to allocate at least 10% of direct payments nationals to support smaller farms. In addition, a minimum of 3% of direct payments must go to help young farmers while a mechanism will connect, voluntarily from 2023 and obligatorily from 2025, CAP payments in a way that makes it easier to punish violations of the legislation labor and social.

“It has not been easy, there have been six (European) presidencies. For Spain it is a good agreement. We have seen our objectives fulfilled ”, has valued the minister of agriculture, Luis Planas, who, like the Portuguese presidency, considers the agreement“ historic ”because it will mean a“ substantive change ”of approach in the management of the CAP, whose budget for the period 2021-2027 will amount to 380,000 million euros, of which almost 47,000 million will be for Spain. Planas, who has described the reform as balanced between the profitability of the farms and environmental ambition, has indicated that the next big step will be to transfer to Spain the agreement reached at the European level with the aim of finishing defining the Spanish national strategic plan that they must deliver to the Community Executive before December 31, 2021.

“If we have been able to do it in Europe, I hope and wish that we will be able to do it in Spain,” he said. Although there is no date for the meeting with the CCAA, Planas has announced that they will be in contact within 48 hours to convene a sectoral meeting. “We are looking at schedule possibilities and the day after tomorrow we will define an exact date but it will take place in the month of July,” he explained.

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