EU member states are set to receive a whole new range of powers thanks to the latest round of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform.
Under the plans, individual countries will be able to choose how and where to invest their CAP funding to meet common goals on the environment, climate change and sustainability.
Each EU member state will develop their own strategic plan, which must be approved by the Commission, setting out how they intend to meet the common objectives.
Attention will shift from compliance to monitoring progress and outcomes.
Speaking to Farmers Guardian, Farming Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “CAP resources must be used effectively and fairly. The two fundamental pillars – supporting farmers and encouraging sustainable rural development – will remain. We have put the focus on simplification and modernisation.
“We want to reduce red tape for farmers and public authorities and to increase the flexibility for member states to invest CAP funding, so we can get the best value and guarantee results.”
Though the ability for member states to transfer funds from pillar one to pillar two was welcomed by most, the EU’s assembly for local and regional politicians – the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) – has expressed some concern about another proposal for EU member states to ‘co-finance’ pillar one.
In a statement, the CoR said: “The CoR laments the fact the Commission has backtracked on its assertion that national co-financing of the first pillar would be rejected.
“Such co-financing would amount to a de facto re-nationalisation of the CAP and would disadvantage farmers in the poorest EU member states.”
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