Renew Europe has been at the forefront of the compromise reached with the Council in favour of a structural modernisation of the common agricultural policy so that agricultural production can combine economic competitiveness and the social and environmental objectives of the Green Deal.
Dacian CIOLOȘ, President of the Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament, and former European Commissioner for Agriculture, said: “The new CAP is born. It is the result of a long negotiation during which I am proud of the work done by the Renew Europe Group. We have defended an agricultural policy that meets the expectations of European citizens and offers opportunities to our farmers. This reform will accompany the transition in a way that is consistent with the Green Deal, in particular through the new eco-schemes. In this transition, it is essential to make better use of the diversity of our agricultural sectors throughout Europe, while maintaining a strong framework at European level. This work will now continue with the various initiatives to come under the Farm to Fork strategy”.
Within the parliamentary committees for Agriculture (AGRI) and the Environment (ENVI), Renew Europe was heavily involved in this long and difficult inter-institutional negotiation with multiple challenges in order to maintain political coherence between the three legislative elements constituting the reform of the CAP: the common market organizations, the historical basis of the CAP, the national strategic plans, which define in particular the eco-conditionality's to which the Member States will have to submit agricultural subsidies, and horizontal regulation, which set a common framework for European farmers.
In addition to Ulrike MÜLLER (Freie Wähler, Germany), parliamentary rapporteur for this last regulation, Martin HLAVÁČEK (ANO, Czech Republic), Jérémy DECERLE (Renaissance, France) and Jan HUITEMA (VVD, Netherlands) jointly welcomed the final agreement on the CAP reform: “We welcome the compromise achieved which marks a real breakthrough towards a more sustainable agricultural sector in the EU. The major key driver of this turning point are the new branded eco-schemes. From now on, Member States will have to devote at least 25% of their direct payments to eco schemes, and 35% of their rural development allocations for environmental and climate objectives, green investments included . As Renew Europe wished, member states will be always free to further increase these percentages.
Common indicators and a new delivery model based on result and performance will allow member states to set higher targets when it comes to their green ambitions. EU financial interests will be better protected when implementing CAP Strategic Plans and transparency and prevention of fraud in spending CAP money will be clearly enhanced. In addition, thanks to the efforts of Renew Europe, the Parliament succeeded to secure a budget of 450 million for the crisis reserve that will be financed from margins in CAP budget instead of from farmers pockets, as is the current practice.
Another major breakthrough: a more equitable distribution of CAP aid was introduced with a mandatory redistribution of a minimum 10% of direct payments to small and medium-sized farms. Essential support for the settlement of young farmers and women in rural areas is equally strengthened. In addition, mechanisms to improve the remuneration of farmers along the agri-food chain following consumer’s expectations for more sustainable products will be put in place. Finally, at the request of the European Parliament, compliance of imported products with EU standards on health, animal welfare and environment will be drastically improved. The European ambition for a green agriculture must send a message to the rest of the world”.
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