CAP spending in the next MFF

Last week, the European Parliament secretariat (Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies) presented a briefing authored by Albert Massot and Francois Negre to the AGRI Committee comparing the Commission’s CAP legislative proposals for the period after 2020 with the current regulations. It consists of two documents: a relatively short contextual statement, and an annex containing six ‘Dashboards’ which in a two-column format set out in specific detail how the CAP reform package (2021-2027) proposed by the Commission on 1st June 2018 compares with the current CAP (2014-2020) regulations, topic by topic. It makes a very useful contribution in structuring the debate around the Commission’s CAP proposals.

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Designating new Areas with Natural Constraints

One of the longer-running sagas in EU agricultural policy-making is now entering the end game. I refer to the redesignation of certain less favoured areas (now called Areas with Natural Constraints) for the purpose of determining eligibility for ANC payments under the CAP. After much foot-dragging, it was agreed in the 2013 CAP reform that updated designation criteria would be used for ANC schemes in the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programmes, but Member States were given leeway to delay their introduction until 2018.
Presentations by DG AGRI officials at two recent workshops on the new ANC criteria, one organised by the European Network for Rural Development in October last year, and the other organised by COPA-COGECA in November last year, provide an overview of the state of play.… Read the rest

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.… Read the rest

Commitments to rural development spending 76% below forecast in 2014

The publication by the Commission of its second Draft Amending Budget (DAB No.2) to the EU’s 2015 budget this week reveals in stark figures the extent of the hiatus in CAP rural development spending caused by the delays in passing the relevant legislation and in approving rural development programmes. I first highlighted how approval of rural development programmes was falling way behind schedule in this post; the Commission’s budget figures now allow us to quantify the extent of the damage.
The delays do not affect only rural development programmes but all programmes under the European Structural and Investment Funds, the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund.… Read the rest

Rural development programming 2014-2020

Rural development programming for the MFF period 2014-2020 seems to be a disaster zone, and it would be interesting to hear comments from those more directly involved in the process as to the reasons and implications of the huge delays which have built up.
At a recent Rural Development DG AGRI Civil Dialogue Group meeting, the Commission presented an update on the programming of the new Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) from which the table below is taken. It expects only 10 RDPs out of a total of 118 to be approved by the end of this year. Nearly all of the 118 RDPs have been submitted (2 are still outstanding), and the Commission has returned its observations on 75 of these (see table below).… Read the rest

The timeline for rural development programming

One of the innovations in rural development programming for the next multi-annual period is that there is meant to be much greater integration between EAFRD spending and spending through the other structural and investment funds. Trying to achieve this greater integration has been, and is, a fraught and time-consuming process, with implications for when member state and regional rural development programmes (RDPs) will get the green light to proceed.
I described how this process is intended to work in an earlier post. In a first step, the Commission has drawn up a Community Strategic Framework (CSF) which is intended to facilitate the sectoral and territorial coordination of union intervention under the CSF funds and with other relevant Union policies and instruments.… Read the rest

More on Pillar 2 allocations by member state

In a previous post I commented that a noteworthy aspect of the Ciolos CAP reform was that, unlike previous reforms, it explicitly proposed to redistribute CAP resources between the member states and between farmers within member states. In writing this I was thinking primarily of Pillar 1 payments. Pillar 2 allocations between member states have been more variable, although still largely influenced by historical amounts (Zahrnt discusses the evolution of Pillar 2 shares in this European Parliament paper).
Also on this occasion, the Commission proposed (in its MFF budget proposals) that the distribution of Pillar 2 rural development support should be based on objective criteria linked to the policy objectives taking into account the current distribution.… Read the rest

Family farming and the role of policy in the EU

Last week Dacian Ciolos welcomed the launch of the UN’s International Year of Family Farming 2014 and on Friday this week the Commission is holding a conference in Brussels on “Family farming: A dialogue towards more sustainable and resilient farming in Europe and in the world”.
The Commissioner emphasised that over 95% of farm holdings in the EU are family farms, and that “family farms are the foundations on which Europe’s Common agricultural policy was built. They continue to stay at the heart of European agriculture as robust generators of competitiveness, growth and jobs, of dynamic and sustainable rural economies.”
Others take a different view of structural developments in EU farming.… Read the rest

The 2014 CAP transition year

The Council announced last Wednesday (October 23) that a political agreement had been reached with the Parliament on the transition measures for agriculture in 2014. This follows the publication of the Commission proposal in April and the adoption of the COMAGRI position in September (the relevant documents are available here in the European Parliament Legislative Observatory)
For direct payments and rural development, the new CAP rules will start to apply as from 1 January 2015. Council and Parliament agreed in June to postpone the implementation of the new rules on direct payments until 1 January 2015, but this seems to be the first time that the institutions have agreed that the start of rural development programmes should be pushed back to 1 January 2015.… Read the rest

The CAP budget in the MFF Part 3 – Pillar 2 rural development allocations

When the European Council agreed on the EU’s multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 in February this year, the overall allocation to the CAP’s Pillar 2 was made known but not the individual allocations to member states. Apparently, in order to secure a final agreement, each member state was told its own allocation but not that of the other countries.
It was not until May, after repeated requests from the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the rural development regulation, Luis Capoulas Santos, that the Commission communicated the individual country totals to the Parliament negotiators in the trilogue process. However, until the publication of the European Parliament secretariat’s Note European Council Conclusions on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 and the CAP these figures were not generally available.… Read the rest