POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - EUROPE

Common agricultural policy

MEPs confirm new EU rules for agriculture and biodiversity



The reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will ensure that at least 10% of direct payments will go to small and medium-sized farms while at least 3% of the CAP budget will go to young farmers. Photo: Shutterstock.

The reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will ensure that at least 10% of direct payments will go to small and medium-sized farms while at least 3% of the CAP budget will go to young farmers. Photo: Shutterstock.

The European Parliament voted in the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aimed at strengthening biodiversity while integrating environmentally-friendly practices in farming. 

Set to take effect in 2023, the EU regulations will oblige member states ensure that at least 35% of the rural development budget and at least 25% of direct payments will be dedicated to environmental and climate measures.

“The new delivery model will ensure that the focus of the CAP will be more on achieving its targets and less on simply complying with the rules. We also made sure CAP payments are more transparent and that the EU’s financial interests are better protected,” said Ulrike Müller, rapporteur for the “Horizontal regulation”.

Transparency and support for small and medium-sized farms

EU labour rules in agricultural sectors will be monitored better and infringements penalised, according to the voted-in document. Transparency would be ensured via an EU data mining tool which member states will use to help identify fraud by cross-checking information in public databases.

MEPs also ensured that at least 10% of direct payments will go to small and medium-sized farms while at least 3% of the CAP budget will go to young farmers. In order to support farmers in case of a crisis, a reserve of €450m will be set up to help in case of market instability.

Biodiversity and agriculture

Strengthening biodiversity was one of the main features of the agricultural policy, with MEPs insisting that it was key to the implementation of the CAP. Deterioration of the environment as a result of agriculture is an issue put forward by environmental organisations in Europe and notably in Luxembourg by natur&ëmwelt and Mouvement Ecologique (Meco).

The two groups recently filed an official complaint against the Luxembourg government demanding species-rich field margins on 30% of grassland, a specific management plan for threatened habitats and species as well as other improvements.

Meco and natur&ëmwelt argued that that the government isn’t doing enough and is thus directly going against EU regulations, namely the CAP which requires countries to protect nature and safeguard biodiversity.