On April 28th 2020, the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee has approved unanimously, by 48 votes in favour, its position on the transitional regulation which aims at prolonging the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) rules for two more years and avoiding the 4% cut to the direct payments and the 15% to the rural development.
Current CAP rules are due to expire at the end of 2020. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the COMAGRI has taken a fundamental decision in order to ensure legal certainty to European farmers and agri-food workers who continues providing healthy and quality food to all EU consumers, despite the coronavirus emergency.
With this report, the COMAGRI wants to ensure the continuation of payments to farmers and rural development beneficiaries and to provide predictability and stability for the sector.
As anticipated, MEP introduced in the proposal a flexible mechanism to prolong the transition period up to two years. The extension should be triggered automatically, unless the future EU’s long-term budget (MFF) and EU farm policy are agreed and approved by 30 October.
Furthermore, the approved text reiterates Parliament’s opposition to any CAP-related budget cuts. MEPs insist that the funding of the EU-27 farm policy must be maintained at the 2014-2020 level in real terms. They also urged to finance the agricultural crisis reserve from outside the CAP budget.
Finally, MEPs want to ease access to compensations for severe income drops and for losses caused by adverse climatic events, outbreaks of animal or plant diseases or pest infestations.
The report approved by the Agriculture Committee will now be submitted to the 13 – 14 May plenary to seek MEPs’ green light for interinstitutional negotiations (trilogue) with EU ministers. The objective is to find an agreement on the final text before the end of Croatian Presidency (June 30th, 2020).
Background: The transitional regulation currently under discussion is the second of two proposals tabled by the European Commission to ensure a smooth transition to the post-2020 CAP. The first set of transitional rules was adopted and published in the Official Journal of the European Union at the end of January 2020.