Following farm ministers' adoption of CAP simplification proposals on Monday, Albert Jan Maat, Copa President, said, “We are very anxious to see concrete initiatives introduced to simplify farmers work as soon as possible. Without this, innovation and competitiveness is jeopardised."

"It is unacceptable to take up to 30% of farmers greening payments in 2017," he continued, "when the rules are still unclear and the errors relate to delays in advice made by the local authorities. Going beyond the 30% payment cut is also unacceptable in 2018.”

Greening was one of the measures highlighted by the talks on Monday, with member states representatives agreeing that there was scope for simplification in this area by giving Member States more flexibility regarding the measures’ implementation. The Council said this could be achieved by taking better into account the natural conditions and allowing more targeted controls.

Albert Jan Maat also stressed that simplification must not result in fundamental changes to the basic act and rules under the new CAP which the EU agreed until 2020, to give farmers some stability and enable them to plan ahead.

He went on to call for a level playing field across the EU, warning that he has serious concerns about the way in which the new rules are being implemented in some countries. With only 27 out of 118 EU rural development programmes approved, he urged the EU to accelerate approval of the remaining national rural development programmes.