Supporting agro-sector in the EU states

Visits: 12

Quite often the EU member states’ leaders are discussing agricultural issues with the EU institutions and, particularly, with the Commission as a main EU executive organ. Thus, recently the Polish Prime Minister Tusk and the Commission President von der Leyen held an in-depth discussion on a new series of the EU proposals. 

Farmers in the EU member states are already facing several – and constantly mounting- uncertainties; in particular recently, caused by such geopolitical events as Russia-Ukrainian war and global challenges. However, the EU and the states have to provide constant and efficient support to farmers in this current context.

European proposals

The main goal of the expected EU-wide legislative proposals is to further ease the administrative burden for EU farmers and give the member states’ governance greater flexibility for complying with certain environmental conditions and guidance, without reducing the overall level of ambition when it comes to the environmental and climate protection objectives of the EU agricultural policy.

Through these proposed changes, it will be possible to apply certain standards for farmers in a way that is more compatible with the everyday realities that farmers face on the ground.

The new EU-wide proposals foresee exemptions for small farms, under 10 ha, from controls and penalties related to conditionality requirements. This will have a real and immediate impact on the many small farms in Poland and other EU states.

Another proposal will change the obligation of farmers not to grow crops on part of their land, the so-called GAEC 8*). The current obligation will be largely turned into an incentive scheme: it is applied retroactively, from the beginning of 2024. In practice it would mean that farmers are encouraged to maintain non-productive areas, but without fearing loss of income if they are not in a position to do so.

    *) Good agricultural and environmental conditions, abbreviated as GAEC, refers to a set of the EU standards (described in Annex II of Council Regulation No 1306/2013 defined at national or regional level), aiming to achieve a sustainable agriculture. Keeping land in good agricultural and environmental conditions is directly related to issues such as: – minimum level of maintenance; water protection and management; – soil erosion; – soil organic matter; and – soil structure. These standards are to be respected by European farmers receiving direct payments or some of the rural development payments.

 

More on the EU Common Agricultural Policy, CAP in: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Glossary:Common_agricultural_policy_(CAP). 

The Commission’s proposals are a direct response to the requests received from farmers’ organizations in and beyond Poland.

Both leaders also discussed further measures to address the situation on the grain market and the import of grain from Russia.

In this context, the European Commission is evaluating the possibility of introducing restrictions on the import of agricultural products from Russia to the European Union. On this basis the Commission will come forward with a proposal shortly.

Both leaders will remain closely coordinated on how to proceed with the reforms.

General reference to: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/STATEMENT_24_1511

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