Sunday

27th May 2018

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.

Interview

Car industry 'only listens to targets', warns lead MEP

'You can't reduce your CO2 emissions if you don't have targets in place,' says MEP Miriam Dalli. She will tell the European Parliament on Wednesday cars should be 50 percent cleaner by 2030, whilst the Commission proposed 30 percent.

Opinion

More commitment to renewables from Council, please

More and more consumers are likely to invest in solar panels in the future as it becomes simpler to produce one's own electricity, writes Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach