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How the European Commission is going to simplify the CAP?

Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, has announced two packages of measures to simplify the implementation of the 2014-2020 CAP.

On the one hand, he explained that some of the proposals are related to direct payments and, as they do not require any changes of the current legislative rules, can be implemented and applicable this year.

Six changes are linked to the EFA-layer (Ecological Focus Area), adjacent EFAs, the LPIS (Land Parcel Identification system) and compensation of EFAs in case of wrong declaration. They are namely:

  • “to accept that Member States, that so wish, only need to map declared EFAs;
  • to allow flexibility as regards to the identification of EFA’s in the EFA-layer (concerns hedges or wooded strips and trees in line);
  • to allow hedges or wooded strips with gaps up to 4 metres;
  • as regards the implementation of adjacent EFA, in duly justified cases, to accept a limited buffer between the boundary and the EFA for the Member States which wish so;
  • to accept a simplified approach as regards the identification of some specific types of permanent grassland in the LPIS;
  • to allow that missing EFA may be compensated by another EFA, even if this EFA has not been declared.”

On the other hand, the Commissioner has answered to the farmers concern about the grassland obligation and the classification of land laying fallow. Hogan detailed that pure leguminous crops should not be considered by definition as permanent grassland after five years. Moreover, the period of declaration of land lying fallow as EFA and the period under agri-environmental commitments will not be taken into consideration for the calculation of the 5 year period for permanent grassland. The Commissioner added that these changes are not only to be implemented in the guidelines, but also to be taken into direct action. That is why a second package of measures is expected after the summer break.

This second package is supposed to focus on covering elements other than the greening and should become applicable from 2016 or 2017 at the latest.

Finally, Hogan also announced that a further review of the greening rules is going to be held in 2016 in order to start a new package of measures to be applicable in 2017.

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5 June 2015

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