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2023–2027 Common agricultural policy Strategic plan

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MAFF) is intensively preparing the 2023–2027 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan. The preliminary draft of the Strategic Plan was prepared in last December and includes the needs identified, proposals for interventions, defined funds, and the output and result indicators.

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MAFF) is intensively preparing the 2023–2027 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan. The preliminary draft of the Strategic Plan was prepared in last December and includes the needs identified, proposals for interventions, defined funds, and the output and result indicators.

On 1 June 2018, the European Commission published a package of legislative proposals for a new CAP. As from publication of the aforementioned legislative proposals, an intensive debate at EU level has been under way within the framework of the EU Council Working Groups, the Special Committee on Agriculture, and the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council. Based on Member State comments, each relevant Presidency prepared proposals supplementing the legislative proposals. Important progress was made on 21 October 2020 when, within the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting, the Agriculture Ministers reached a political consensus on the CAP Reform legislative package, the so-called general approach. On 23 October 2020, at a plenary meeting, the European Parliament adopted its position on the legislative package. The essential basis for negotiations to commence between the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, and the European Commission, the so-called trialogue procedure, was thus established. Subsequently, the trialogues took place during the German Presidency, whilst the intensive work had commenced, or been part of priority tasks, already within the Portuguese Presidency. It needs to be pointed out here that no delegated or implementing acts have been drawn up to date, but will be during the current year. The Covid-19 epidemic has namely significantly affected the operation of the European institutions, distinctly slowing down the adoption of the future Strategic Plan preparation legislative framework. As a matter of priority, all the attention has naturally been focused on a successful response to the health, economic and social crisis. In the light of the agreements reached, the date of beginning of implementation of the new CAP is thus being moved to 1 January 2023.

In the forefront of the future CAP, and consequently the 2023–2027 Strategic Plan, is the strengthening of a resilient and sustainable food system, on account of which all the discussions conducted so far with the key stakeholders in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors, linked to the drawing up of all the seven anti-crisis legislative proposals, or the purports of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (the so-called NextGen mechanism), are in direct connection with the very purports of the future 2023–2027 Strategic Plan. The purports of the NextGen mechanism, of the 2023–2027 Strategic Plan, and of the extended 2014–2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP) will all be most distinctively interlinking in the period 2021-2027, and for this reason, all the contextual discussions concerning the planning of measures and interventions are invariably involving all the three available financial mechanisms.

In conjunction with the above-stated, the process of adoption of the 2021–2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) needs to be pointed out, which defines the budgetary framework and the main orientations for the CAP, and which, too, has suffered a time lag. The European Commission presented its proposal in May 2018, and the latest step of adoption of the next long-term EU budget was made last December.

Additionally, certain other key documents affect the preparation of the new CAP Strategic Plan: in last May, the European Commission presented two new strategies, constituting new elements of the European Green Deal, namely, the “Farm to Fork” Strategy, and the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy. The EU Member States are expected to intensify ambitions to attain the “green” targets through measures funded within the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). This involves an upgrading of the existing 2014–2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP). In this context, the recommendations by the European Commission for the CAP Strategic Plans should be mentioned as they were published for each Member State – only on 18 December 2020. Recommendations address certain economic, environmental and social targets of the future CAP and, in particular, the ambitions and specific targets of the “Farm to Fork” Strategy and of the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy. Recommendations, which were received also by Slovenia last December, thus significantly impact the purport of the Strategic Plan and all the ensuing interventions.

Five Working Groups were set up at MAFF for the preparation of the Strategic Plan, involving representatives of different institutions and sectors, namely: Horizontal Group, Group on Rational and Resilient Agriculture, Group on Environmental Protection and Adaptation to Climate Change, Group for Rural Development, and Group for Creation of Active and/or Proper Farmers.

MAFF intensively cooperates with the above Working Groups and with other professional institutions and stakeholders in the Strategic Plan preparation process. Following the baseline presentations for the Strategic Plan to the Agriculture Council members in January, we have been planning to conduct interactive workshops with the Working Group members already this February. Workshops are intended to trigger quality discussion and responses in the direction of how, on given resources, to best achieve targets and/or results. Such workshops will be repeated during spring. 

The continued targeted communication with the public is planned to be conducted throughout this year. The method of work will be adapted to the epidemiological situation, and our intention is to approach the interested public, producers, companies in each particular area. A wide-ranging public presentation of the 2023–2027 Strategic Plan will be launched, along the intensive cooperation with the designated Working Group representatives, representatives of sectors in agriculture, providers of ex-ante evaluations, of environmental reports, and of opinions within the strategic environmental assessment procedure, and with other ministries. On completion of intersectoral harmonisation, the Strategic Plan will be submitted to the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for discussion and approval.

Based on this comprehensive description of the entire process, our intention is to highlight the all-inclusive approach followed by MAFF towards all the stakeholders, and the high standards set as to the transparency of our work and the 2023–2027 Strategic Plan preparation process. After all, the cooperation with the interested public and key stakeholders is a requirement that arises from the legal framework of preparation of future strategic plans. Following two comprehensive programming periods of 2007–2013 and 2014–2020, our Ministry has gained ample experience in preparing programme documents, managing the entire process, harmonising the process with the more or less extensive public and the European Commission and, for this reason, we are confident that – despite the extremely difficult situation due to the Covid-19 epidemic – we are going to successfully tackle this task.