Sunday

11th Dec 2016

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.

Focus

A world without waste

A garbage crisis in Naples, Italy, gave birth to the "zero waste" movement, but is the rest of Europe brave enough to change the way it thinks about trash?

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First