Proposals to Simplify CAP Adopted by EU Agricultural Ministers

Mar 28, 2024 | Farm Viability, Green Architecture

Measures have been announced by the European Commission and EU Member States to develop a more flexible and simpler Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The most notable proposal surround exemptions on the rules known as Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions or GAECs, the basic standards in the CAP.

These proposals put forward by the EU Commission are intended to reduce the burden on smaller farms concerning inspections and potential penalties. This will apply to farms under 10ha, but they will still be expected to be compliant with conditionality requirements.

The rationale given for this is, overall, the agricultural area managed by small farmers is considered limited and, historically, the number of penalties applied to small farmers has been low. The application of penalties on small farms, leading to a disproportionate burden for Member States’ administrations was also stated.

This has been hailed by officials in Brussels as an example of legislators listening to the concerns of EU farmers in terms of significantly reducing the administrative burden related to controls for small farmers who represent 65pc of CAP beneficiaries. This exemption is expected to apply to the approximately 28,000 farms in Ireland who fall below the 10 ha threshold.

The proposals have been adopted by EU Agriculture Ministers and must now be approved by the European Parliament and are expected to be adopted at their plenary on 22-25 April 2024. The regulation is then expected to be formally adopted by the Council, signed by the representatives of the Council and the European Parliament and published in the Official Journal. It is hoped that this regulation will come into force by the end of May 2024.

To learn out more about the current iteration of the CAP Strategic Plan, click here.

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