Twenty-three out of the 28 EU members in 2017 will pay up to €1.7bn on 19.3m head of cattle, which is an average of €88 per head. These payments are made under the voluntary coupled support (VCS) scheme where countries can opt to use a percentage of their annual ceiling for direct payments as a VCS. Normally this is limited to 8+2% of the annual national ceiling available for direct payments though this can be increased to 13+2% under certain conditions but any further increase is subject to Commission approval for very specific conditions.

Most countries have coupled payments