Hogan calls for EU states to have more say in use of farm funding

European Commission document looks to provide more equitable support for farmers

 European Commissioner for agriculture and rural development Phil Hogan said the document marked “a significant step change in the implementation of the CAP”. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

European Commissioner for agriculture and rural development Phil Hogan said the document marked “a significant step change in the implementation of the CAP”. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

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Less red tape and a more equitable payment system for struggling farmers are among the key elements proposed by the European Commission in a potentially far-reaching document on the reshaping of agriculture policy across the European Union.

Measures aimed at encouraging more young people to farm land, less Brussels-based bureaucracy and a simplified and more flexible agriculture policy is needed to support farmers and create a climate for sustainable development, the commission said in a communication titled The Future of Food and Farming.

Allowing member states greater responsibilities to choose how and where to invest their CAP funding in order to meet common goals on environment, climate change and sustainability is a flagship initiative.

“Today’s communication ensures that the Common Agricultural Policy will deliver on new and emerging objectives such as fostering a smart and resilient agricultural sector, bolstering environmental care and climate action and strengthening the social-economic fabric of rural areas,” said the commissioner for agriculture and rural development Phil Hogan.

“It also marks a significant step change in the implementation of the CAP. Instead of the current system, a new implementation system will be introduced, giving member states/regions a much greater degree of subsidiarity.”

‘An important step’

The proposals were described as “an important step to modernise and simplify the CAP” by Jyrki Katainen, the vice-president in charge of jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness at the commission.

Support for farmers will continue through the system of direct payments and the new document “explores some possibilities to ensure a fair and better targeted support of farmers’ income”.

Addressing climate change, the document says the future CAP “should reflect higher ambition as regards resource efficiency, environmental care and climate action”.

It also proposes encouraging the use of modern technologies to support farmers and provide greater market transparency and certainty.

Legislative proposals giving effect to the goals outlined by the commission will be tabled before the summer 2018.

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