Last 25th June 2021, negotiators finally came with a deal on the post-2022 Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), which was then endorsed by the Agriculture Council on Monday 28th.
Key elements of the deal
One of the main novelties of the post-2022 CAP was the introduction of eco-schemes – new greening payments, mandatory for Member states and voluntary for farmers. The agreement found by European institutions states that at least 25% of direct payments should go to these new eco-schemes from 2025 (with a transition period at 20% for 2023 and 2024).
Still on the environmental side, payments for Areas with Natural Constraints will continue accounting for the 35% of the EAFRD budget financing environment and climate action. Euromontana welcomes this recognition of mountain farming’s contribution to the protection of biodiversity and resources.
Yet, no binding elements seem to have been agreed regarding the alignment of the CAP to the priorities of the Farm to Fork Strategy.
On the social side, the new CAP will for the first time look into the agricultural workers’ labour rights. The new social conditionality will subject beneficiaries of direct payments to administrative penalty if they don’t provide adequate employment and working conditions, which can contribute to improving labour conditions in some regions, including mountainous ones.
What are the next steps?
Some remaining technical details still have to be discussed by European institutions before a final approval of the post-2022 CAP by both the European Parliament and the Council. The new CAP will cover the period 2023-2027, after the transitional period 2020-2022.
In the meantime, Member states must design their CAP Strategic Plans and submit them for approval by the European Commission by 31st December 2021. Euromontana calls upon Member states to widely consult mountain communities and farmers in the drafting process and to take into account the specificities of mountain areas in their Strategic Plans.
In particular, Euromontana stresses the opportunity given by these Plans to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of rural mountainous areas and to propose adequate solutions. Therefore, Euromontana calls on mountainous Member states to for instance design eco-schemes able to reward mountain farmers’ contribution to environmental sustainability and to encourage more efforts. The European Commission published on 14th January 2021 a list of measures potentially eligible under the new eco-schemes to support Member States in drafting their CAP Strategic Plans. Many of the proposed measures are relevant to support mountain agriculture, such as agro-forestry and silvopastoral systems, transhumance and common grazing and more globally low intensity grass-based livestock system.
Strategic Plans should also contribute to the maintenance of mountain farming and the vitality of mountain area by taking advantage of other CAP measures such as, among others, Payments for Areas with Natural Constraints, Smart Villages, support to revitalisation through investments in innovation and infrastructures and promotion of quality schemes.2 July 2021