Thursday

25th May 2017

EU ministers hail 'watershed' agreement on farm policy

  • The common agricultural policy accounts for 40 percent of the EU budget. (Photo: freefotouk)

European agricultural ministers reached an agreement on Tuesday (19 March) to overhaul the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP).

Ireland’s Simon Coveney, who chaired the two-day marathon talks that ended late Tuesday evening, hailed the agreement as a “watershed moment.”

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Ministers agreed to a principle of flexibility on how direct payments to farmers are distributed in member states.

Coveney said the scheme would lower the transfers of payments between farmers and “allows the Irish model of partial convergence to be included in the options available for the distribution of direct payments.”

The decision runs counter to the European Commission’s initial proposal of flat-rate payments per hectare in each region or member state, which aimed to create a more uniform distribution of funds across the Union.

The commission said such a scheme would be mandatory for all member states from 2019 onwards.

Member states decided instead for a partial convergence by 2019.

Ministers also inserted “additional flexibility” into the commission’s proposal, which ties 30 percent of direct payments to "greening."

“On greening, we have ensured that the payment may be a percentage of each farmer’s individual payment rather than a flat rate," said Coveney.

Farmers will have to claw back soil carbon output as part of the green element of the farm reform.

They will also be required to improve ecosystems, through a variety of means, including crop diversification.

The ministers proposed a progressive application of the crop diversification requirements. They also noted that exemptions to the requirement need to better clarified.

Final negotiations with the European Parliament and the European commission are expected in June.

Trump delays climate decision

The White House said it would take more time to decide if the US should remain part of the Paris climate agreement, while talks are underway in Bonn.

Column / Crude World

Nord Stream 2: The elephant in the room

The European Commission should provide a thorough impact assessment of Nord Stream 2, a project that appears to go against all of its Energy Union objectives.

News in Brief

  1. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  2. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  3. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  4. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  5. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  6. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls
  7. France to host Russian president
  8. Switzerland votes against nuclear power

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms

Latest News

  1. Openness over Brexit is 'political play', says EU ombudsman
  2. Le Pen's EU group in fresh spending scandal
  3. New EU right to data portability to cause headaches
  4. Cyber threats are inevitable, paralyzing impact is not
  5. Transparency complaints keep EU Ombudsman busy
  6. EU sets out criteria for relocating UK agencies
  7. EU states back bill against online hate speech
  8. Dutch coalition talks collapse again