The second vote on CAP reform focussed on the new EU rules for direct payments and rural development after 2020. The Agriculture Committee’s amendments to the so-called Strategic plans regulation were approved on Tuesday by 27 votes in favour to 17 against, with one abstention.
Reducing payments to bigger farms, supporting small, young and women farmers
Member states should cap annual direct payments to farmers at the level of €100.000, but they could allow farmers to deduct 50% of agriculture-related salaries from the total amount before the reduction, MEPs say. They also want to channel at least 5% of national direct payments to small and medium-sized farmers through a special per-ha top-up.
Strategic plans: New delivery model postponed until 2022
The so-called new delivery model based on national strategic plans to be drafted by member states and approved by the EU Commission, should be delayed by one year until 2022 to allow more time for them to adjust, the Agriculture Committee said.
Extending eco-schemes to protect animal welfare too
MEPs want to dedicate at least 30% of the rural development budget to environmental and climate-related measures and not less than 20% of direct payments to eco-schemes. These voluntary eco-schemes should support not only the environment, but also animal welfare.
More information on boosting advisory services for farmers, definition of active farmer, levelling direct payments and rules for transferring money between pillars are available here.
The text approved by Agriculture Committee MEPs has to be scrutinised by the Parliament as a whole. This can happen only after the 23-26 May European elections. The Conference of Presidents (EP president and leaders of political groups) may decide then to forward the text to the full House. Otherwise, the new Agriculture Committee will have to look into the matter again.