EU agriculture ministers confirm the compromise deal on the reform of the common agricultural policy
At today's meeting of the Council of the EU, EU ministers confirmed the compromise deal on the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP). The European Parliament and the Council of the EU came to a political agreement on the deal last Friday. The deal covers all three legislative proposals (Strategic Plans Regulation, amendments to the Regulation on the common market organisation and Horizontal Regulation). Minister Jože Podgoršek has attended the meeting on behalf of Slovenia.
The minister welcomed the agreement by saying: "I congratulate the Portuguese Presidency for the enormous effort it put into reaching a balanced agreement. The Presidency has largely managed to defend the Council's mandate in all key elements. After a long discussion and exchange of views, the ministers therefore decided to confirm the deal at today's meeting."
In a statement given to the media after the discussion, Minister Podgoršek stressed that the proposal was acceptable for Slovenia. "The agreement is ambitious and the entire legislative package for the CAP reform covers topics that are of strategic and vital importance for Slovenian agriculture and rural areas. It is a compromise agreed on by the EU member states; the baseline that forms the basis for further work. In negotiating the CAP reform in the past three years, Slovenia has devoted special attention to the green architecture, more targeted direct payments and social conditionality. We are aware that agriculture requires greater competitiveness, integration, knowledge transfer and development. I estimate that the agreement is ambitious also in the field of the environment and climate change adaptation."
The deal, which the EU minister confirmed today, covers all three legislative proposals (Strategic Plans Regulation, amendments to the Regulation on the common market organisation and Horizontal Regulation). The official confirmation of the political agreement will only be possible during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, after resolving the remaining technical questions.
In the field of green architecture, the minimum amount of resources for direct payments for eco-schemes was agreed at 25%. During the first two years, the member states will be able to benefit from a certain level of flexibility to prevent the loss of unspent funds. Environmental goals will receive 35% of rural development funding.
The deal also focuses on more targeted direct payments. Member states will have to achieve at least 85% of internal convergence by 2026. This means that the amounts of direct payments will have to be harmonised up to this value.
The new CAP will include a social dimension for the first time. Under the new agreement, farmers will receive lower area payments if they violate specific labour and occupational health and safety legislation. The new conditionality is expected to be introduced by 2025. The European Commission will present its report with potential suggestions for extending the obligation by 2026.
In the field of common market organisation, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU agreed to a joint declaration on meeting the European standards in environment and food safety for the imported products. An agreement was reached on the size of the agricultural reserve, which was set at EUR 450 million. If necessary, the amount can be increased in the annual budgetary procedure.