On 2 May as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the European Commission announced to cut the budget of the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy by approximately 5% compared to the previous period (2014 - 2020).

With a budget of €365 billion, the Commission has prioritised the direct payments pillar to secure farmers’ income and maintain smallholders economic viability. 

For the second rural development pillar, which is considered the driving force for the modernisation of the EU farming and where CEMA sees room for further support to the adoption of Precision Agriculture Technologies (check here), the Commission proposes to increase national co-financing rates. The Commission proposed a 10% cut under this pillar. To cover this gap, it will be up to the Member States to ensure farmers will not suffer from this reduction. 

Commissioner Hogan said 16 Member States will see a 3.1% reduction of direct payments, in another six, the reductions will be below this number, while five will see an actual increase (eg. Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia increase 13.6%, 13.2% and 12.3%, respectively).

This also responds to a willingness of the current Commission to make a better distribution of the direct payments applying further “convergence” between the big and the small countries in Europe, big and small farms. Related to this, EU countries will have to cap subsidies for large farms — with the Commission suggesting a limit of €60,000. Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said that the savings generated from this capping can be redistributed to medium sized and smaller farmers.

Moreover, Horizon Europe, the next Research Programme will support with €10 billion research and innovation in food, agriculture, rural development and bioeconomy.

The European Commission's proposal on the post-2020 CAP is expected to be published within the coming weeks.

On the Parliament side, Agriculture MEPs committee voted last 16 of May on the report led by Robert Dorfmann, related to the communication issued by the Commission (29/11/2017) ‘The Future of Food and Farming’ (COM(2017)0713), on a set of proposals on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020. 

Agri Committee MEPs urge for fair funding but no renationalization and agree on the main lines below:

  • farming activities in all Member States need to be subject to same EU high standards
  • fairer funding across the EU and within member states need to be maintained
  • more options to attract new entrants and to help farmers deal with crises are crucial

MEPs recognise that EU member states should be allowed to adapt EU farming policy to their needs, but reject any renationalisation of the CAP, which could, they say, distort competition in the single market.

The Agriculture committee also wants:

  • direct payments  to continue to be fully financed from the EU budget,
  • to cut red tape for the mandatory greening measures (needed to receive payments) and make them more result-oriented, simplify and better target voluntary ones,
  • new EU method to calculate direct payments by 2030 to phase out historical support criteria and support more those who deliver additional public goods,
  • more efficient ways to ensure that EU support goes to genuine farmers,
  • more money to help invigorate rural areas,
  • less money for larger farms with a mandatory EU ceiling,
  • fairer distribution of EU funds among member states, considering amounts received and differences e.g. in production costs or purchasing power,
  • to boost support for young and new farmers,
  • stronger support to farmers hit by income and price volatility,
  • to exclude most sensitive sectors from trade negotiations,
  • voluntary coupled support, which member states can now grant to particularly important ailing sectors, to be used also for strategically important production, e.g. protein crops, or to compensate the effects of free trade deals.

The Agriculture Committee's ideas should now be scrutinised by the Parliament as a whole during an upcoming plenary session.

Please check here the factsheet on the EU budget for the Future of CAP launched on the 2 May

Press Release from the European Parliament on the vote of the "Future of Food and Farming" report HERE

CEMA's latest position paper on CAP 'Smart Agriculture for All Farms' can be found HERE