Status update on Rural Development Programmes

DG AGRI was able to announce in this past week that it had approved a further 5 Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) for the period 2014-2020. This means that 78 of the 118 RDPs have now been adopted covering 76.6% of the envisaged funding. The state of play (as of the end of August) is shown in the graphic below. Note that one-third of RDPs still remain to be adopted at this point, even if they account for less than 25% of the envisaged expenditure.
Source: DG AGRI
Reasons for delays need to be examined

When the approval exercise is completed, we will need an investigation into the reasons for these unacceptable delays and some allocation of responsibility between possible contributing factors.

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Scrap the crop diversification greening requirement and find a sensible replacement

Here is a suggestion for the Commissioner’s simplification agenda: scrap the crop diversification requirement, which is one of the three ‘simple, generalised, non-contractual and annual actions that go beyond cross-compliance’ that make up the requirements for eligibility for the greening payment in the CAP’s Pillar 1. And use the money saved (up to half of the greening budget, or €6.1 billion in 2015) to promote improvements in soil organic matter (the main environmental objective of crop diversification) in a more cost-effective way.
The crop diversification greening measure is a scandalous waste of resources. Not only does the EU notionally spend €6 billion annually on this measure for virtually no environmental or other impact (as we will see).

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