European Parliament, 27 nov. 2020
Thursday 3 December 2020, by Carlos San Juan
• EU farm subsidies and rural development funding to continue uninterrupted
• EU recovery aid for farmers, food producers and rural beneficiaries part of the package
• Transition to last for two years, all recovery money to be released during that period
Parliament and Council negotiators finalised the agreement on the basic set of rules to ensure a smooth transition from the current EU farm policy to the future one, on Friday.
The provisionally agreed text builds on the partial deal reached with the Croatian Council Presidency in June. It also incorporates a separate deal to distribute the EU recovery and resilience aid for farmers, food producers and rural areas more quickly, reached with the German Council Presidency earlier in November.
The provisionally agreed text extends the application of existing Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) rules, which are due to expire at the end of 2020, until the end of 2022. It thus ensures that payments to farmers and rural development beneficiaries can continue. More information about the deal on transitional rules is available here.
Recently agreed rules on ways to use the €8 billion in aid for farmers, food producers and rural areas to finance their resilient, sustainable and digital recovery in the next two years are also part of the overall deal. More information about the agreed EU recovery package is available here
“The agreement does not represent a simple extension of the status quo: thanks to the European Parliament, our citizens, our rural communities and our farmers and food producers are going to have an ambitious toolkit, the legal certainty and the funding necessary to increase resilience, sustainability and to digitalise the sector. This shows once again that the European Parliament is committed to actively involving farmers in the ambitious goal of climate change adaptation and mitigation”, said rapporteur on the EU recovery package Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT).
Article 5 of the proposed transitional regulation extends to 2021 the legality and regularity of payment entitlements allocated to farmers before 1 January 2020, according to which farmers receive EU support in the form of direct payments. Article 10 amends Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 so as to apply the following provisions in 2021:
• The rules on degressivity require the EU Member States to reduce basic payments over €150 000 per farm by a minimum of 5 %.
• The transfer of amounts(i.e. the flexibility between pillars) from direct payments to rural development, at up to 15 % of the annual national ceiling for direct payments, or from rural development to direct payment, at up to 15 % (or 25 % in Bulgaria, Estonia, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Finland, and Sweden) of the amounts assigned to rural development.
The Commission’s proposal refers to post-2020 budgetary figures from its proposal for the 2021-2027 EU budget. These figures (to be updated with the final amounts resulting from the conclusion of the Direct payments Article 5 of the proposed transitional regulation) extends to 2021 the legality and regularity of payment entitlements allocated to farmers before 1 January 2020, according to which farmers receive EU support in the form of direct payments.
negotiations on the future EU budget) would imply fewer funds earmarked for agricultural expenditure than in the past EU budget.
• The deadline of 1 August 2020 for EU Member State notifications to the Commission as to the allocation of funds in compliance with their national ceilings.
• The option of applying internal convergence in the calculation of the value of the payment entitlements, to move towards a more uniform level of support per hectare.
• The single area payment scheme (SAPS) in the EU Member States already applying it.
• The optional redistributive payment to support farmers with smaller holdings.
• The fixed yields to be used for calculating crop-specific payments for cotton in Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, and Portugal.
Article 1 of the proposed transitional regulation introduces the possibility, for those Member States that risk running out of funds, to decide on an extension to 2021 of the period covered by 2014-2020 rural development programmes. Any such decisions would involve regional programmes, where they exist, and should result in amendments to the relevant rural development programmes.
At least the overall level of 30 %of spending would be reserved for measures with environment and climate goals. For those EU Member States that do not decide to extend their rural development programmes, their 2021 allocations would be transferred to the subsequent years, 2022 to 2025.
Articles 2 and 3 of the proposed transitional regulation set out a timetable and eligibility of expenditure to make operative the extension of rural development programmes to 2021.
Article 4 offers the possibility for rural development funds to support multi-funded community-led local development (CLLD), as under the Commission’s proposal on common provisions for the EU’s cohesion policy for 2021-2027.
Article 6 establishes rules and conditions for the carry-over of expenditure from previous programming periods and their integration into the CAP strategic plans for 2022-2027.
Article 8 amends Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 in order to introduce the following provisions:
• A period from one to three years (and a maximum one-year further extension) for new commitments undertaken in 2021 for measures on agri-environment-climate, organic farming, and animal welfare.
• Leader local action groups expanded in scope to include CLLD tasks and support.
• A total amount of EU support for rural development in 2021 equal to €11.3 billion (without considering flexibility between pillars), in accordance with the proposed budget for the years 2021 to 2027.
• For rural development programmes extended to 2021, EU Member States’ annual implementation reports and ex-post evaluation reports to be due by end 2025. The common organisation of agricultural markets (CMO)
Article 7 of the proposed transitional regulation modifies the timetable of certain sectoral aid schemes to smooth the transition towards their inclusion in the CAP strategic plans, as follows:
• For the olive oil and table olives sector, work programmes running from 1 April 2018 until 31 March 2021 would be extended until 31 December 2021.
• Producer organisations in the fruit and vegetables sector with programmes running beyond 2021 would have the choice either to modify those programmes to comply with the CAP strategic plan regulation, or to replace them with new programmes.
• Aid schemes (and certain rules on expenditure and payments) for the wine sector would continue until 15 October 2023, and for the apiculture sector until 31 July 2022.
• As from the date from which a CAP strategic plan has legal effect, payments made within the sectoral aid schemes should not exceed the respective financial allocation.
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