Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan has updated EU agriculture and fisheries ministers on the results of the recent public consultation on the future of food and farming and on the progress made so far on simplifying and modernising the common agricultural policy (CAP).
Speaking after the AGRIFISH Council meeting on 17 July, Commissioner Hogan said: "I was happy to brief the Council on the main conclusions of the public consultation on the modernisation and simplification of the CAP, which were presented at a large stakeholder conference in Brussels on 7 July.
"The process yielded a number of key results, including public recognition of the fact that additional EU action is needed to guarantee a strong and well-functioning CAP, maintain a fair standard of living for farmers, do more for the environment and climate change, and respond to a number of new societal demands in terms of food production and rural development.
"My services and I will now analyse these findings to ensure that they are adequately reflected in Commission's forthcoming Communication on the future of the CAP."
Discussions also focused on the progress made on the simplification of the CAP since the last round of reforms in 2013. They have come primarily in the areas of direct payments to farmers and the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) for the management and control of payments to farmers made by the member states from the common agricultural policy budget. Improvements to the implementation of rural development policy and the rules governing the regulation of specific market sectors have also been achieved.
Simplification measures include issues such as greater flexibility for member state authorities in areas such as deadlines for declarations, spot checks and penalties; a raft of measures designed to improve the greening requirements and administration, in particular for ecological focus areas; clarification of the rules relating to payments for young farmers; an easing of the requirement for beneficiaries of rural development funding to publically display information about the funding; greater flexibility to allow national rural development programmes to be amended to respond to natural disasters; the merging of the two school schemes (milk and fruit & vegetables); new rules on the definition of producer organisations in the fruit & vegetable sector; and simplification of the rules governing support for the apiculture sector.
Future simplifications currently being prepared include new rules on wine labelling, traditional terms and PDOs/PGIs and new rules on the communication of data concerning sugar production following the end of the quota system.