Ho­gan wants ‘re­sults-based’ ap­proach to CAP pay­ments

Mem­ber states will also have greater flex­i­bil­ity on farm­ing poli­cies

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - MAR­GARET DON­NELLY

BRUS­SELS will stop check­ing the height and width of hedgerows and the num­ber of trees in fields in the fu­ture as Mem­ber States be­come more re­spon­si­ble for shap­ing the Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy (CAP).

EU Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sioner Phil Ho­gan told the 2017 EU Agri­cul­tural Out­look Con­fer­ence in Brus­sels yes­ter­day that the fu­ture CAP would con­tinue to be based around sim­pli­fi­ca­tion and mod­erni­sa­tion, but would have less of a ‘top down’ ap­proach, with greater flex­i­bil­ity for Mem­ber States to suit lo­cal needs.

The re­cent white pa­per on the fu­ture of CAP out­lined a new ‘green ar­chi­tec­ture’, which Mr Ho­gan (pic­tured) said will build on the pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence of green­ing and cross com­pli­ance; he added that farm­ers must de­velop a higher level of cli­mate am­bi­tion for them­selves.

“We are fo­cused on mov­ing to a re­sults-based ap­proach,” he said, point­ing out that while 30pc of direct pay­ments are linked to green­ing, a one-size fits-all ap­proach does not work.

“The CAP needs more am­bi­tious tar­gets and greater flex­i­bil­ity for Mem­ber States to suit lo­cal needs,” he said.

“The present pol­icy is too pre­scrip­tive with Brus­sels im­pos­ing a top-down ap­proach as re­gards what should or should not be good ac­tions to take to com­ply with our poli­cies.

“We are ask­ing Mem­ber States to be able to show us how they can meet EU-wide ob­jec­tives. Through those par­tic­u­lar poli­cies they will have to show us how they can meet the EU-wide ob­jec­tives.

“This is a bet­ter ef­fort to take ac­count of the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and di­ver­si­fied na­ture of agri­cul­ture right around Europe and re­move our­selves from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ ap­proach and give more flex­i­bil­ity on the con­text of im­ple­men­ta­tion of EU pol­icy ob­jec­tives in each Mem­ber State.”

Ini­tial reaction, he said, to the re­cent white pa­per is that “peo­ple are con­cerned the EU is mov­ing away from the C (com­mon) in the CAP and to­wards what is be­ing de­scribed as the re­na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of the CAP.”

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, he said, is not shirk­ing its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties or dis­man­tling the in­ter­nal mar­ket. “The prin­ci­ple of what we are propos­ing is greater sub­sidiar­ity of Mem­ber States,” he ex­plained.

High-level ob­jec­tives will be set at EU level, he said, and they will be trans­lated into a set of spe­cific ob­jec­tives that will have re­sults set and qual­i­fied out­put in­di­ca­tors, so Mem­ber States can de­fine their tar­gets.

De­ci­sions

“Mem­ber States’ plans will not take de­ci­sions in iso­la­tion but within a struc­tured Com­mis­sion process with a com­mon EU ob­jec­tives,” he said.

This will mean that the CAP and green­ing will move to­wards a more re­sults-based pol­icy and that Brus­sels will no longer be set­ting the width or height stan­dards for hedgerows or the amount of trees in a field.

“What we ware propos­ing is a sig­nif­i­cant step change,” he said — one that will change the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Mem­ber States, the Com­mis­sion and CAP ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

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