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The discussion on the common agricultural policy after 2013 focuses on direct payments, young farmers and organic farms

Monday, 22 July 2013 SendPrint

Chairs of the EU parliamentary Committees on Rural Affairs are discussing the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP).

The meeting was welcomed by Vydas Gedvilas, Speaker of the Seimas, who underlined that the common agricultural policy was one of the oldest policies of the European Union; therefore it was only natural that it was reformed in response to new internal and external signals. “Moreover, it is also one of the most costly policies and therefore requires a huge responsibility on the part of politicians in taking coordinated decisions that satisfy both farmers and taxpayers”, the Speaker of the Seimas said and stressed that, very old farming traditions in Lithuania, as well as diligence and perseverance of our people had enabled us to responsibly represent the agricultural sector not only in Lithuania but also in the European Union.


Vigilijus Jukna, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania, spoke on the Common Agricultural policy after 2013 and expressed his appreciation of the concluded agreements on internal and external convergence of direct payments, which would ensure fair market conditions and fair competition to all farmers across the EU, as well as enable the establishment of uniform conditions for all farmers. However, the Minister expressed his concerns over the situation of Lithuania in the area of direct payments: “As the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Lithuania and a representative of respective interests of all Lithuanian farmers, I cannot be completely happy with the situation, because unfortunately, as a result of the deals reached at the European Council in February 2013, Lithuania will continue to be on the list of Member States receiving the lowest direct payments in the EU. Of course, we are happy that we managed to agree on higher payments, compared to the ones offered at the beginning of the negotiation process. Thus by 2020, all the Member States will have to achieve the minimum threshold of direct payments which is at least €196 per hectare”.


Dr Czesław Adam SIEKIERSKI, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, European Parliament gave an overview of the recent changes in the common agricultural policy and noted that it was the first reform of the common agricultural policy shaped by the European Parliament as a full co-legislator with the Council of Agriculture Ministers. The keynote speaker also underlined that matters related to the Multi-annual Financial Framework were still subject to further negotiations and that Lithuania, as the Presidency of the Council, would have to address this objective, since the negotiations would be finalised after the summer break.


Mr Siekierski said that direct payments were the key elements of the CAP reform. “In the future, payments will only be directed towards “active farmers”. However, some flexibility will be provided to the Member States for the precise definition of an "active farmer”, he said and added that “Member States will be able to redistribute direct payments in a fairer and more equal way in order to limit the most extreme effects of the potential redistribution. The system of allocation based on historic references is to be phased out. It has been envisaged that, as of 2019, payments received by all farmers in any given Member State are to be based on a uniform unit value. Member States that apply the single area payment scheme (e.g. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus and others), can continue applying the system until 2020. They may also decide to continue to grant transitional national aid to farmers and sectors which were eligible for it under the common agricultural policy. The amount available for farmers will correspond to 75% and the support scheme will be phased out until 2020”.

The keynote speaker informed about the top-up support scheme for young farmers. “This means that a young farmer would be eligible for an additional 25% payment for a minimum of 25 and a maximum of 90 hectares (single maximum limit to be set by a Member State). Member States would have to use up to 2% of their national direct payments budgets to fund this support scheme for young farmers. Member States would be free to decide whether to set up a support scheme for small farmers. Farmers, who qualify, could then receive additional support of at least €500 and at most €1,250.”

Mr Siekierski noted that the European Parliament aimed at increasing environmental efforts. Thirty percent of the national budget for direct payments to farmers should be linked to “greening” measures. However, organic farmers would be subject to additional requirements. By the end of March 2017, the Commission would have to present an evaluation report and if necessary a legislative proposal to further increase the percentage of ecological focus areas to 7%. Furthermore, the European Parliament and the European Commission plan to make 30% of the national budget for direct payments conditional upon compliance with greening measures.

 

 

Asta Markevičienė, Public Relations Unit, tel. +370 5 239 6202, e-mail: [email protected]

 

 

 

 


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