European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has defended his vision for the next CAP saying anyone who thought it would make things more complicated clearly had not read the proposals.
There would be a huge reduction in complexity for farmers and administrators in a system focused on results rather than cross compliance, Hogan told EU agricultural ministers in Brussels on Tuesday 14 May.
Concerns were raised by ministers from a number of countries, including Ireland, that a requirement to prepare annual progress reports on strategic plans would create an unnecessary burden.
Ministers were asked to compare the suggestions to the current system of compliance where reports are made annually on the inspections carried out at farm level and the breaches that had been found.
Commissioner Hogan stressed that all these requirements would be eliminated.
He said the current system had left farmers annoyed with red tape and how small errors could contribute to a significant reduction in their incomes.
Removing the need for the European Commission to implement strict rules removed problems for people in administration and farming, he said.
He added that the move was also necessary to justify the CAP budget and show European taxpayers that the policy was delivering a valuable return.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Andrew Doyle represented Ireland at the meeting in the absence of Minister Michael Creed who is on a trade mission in China. Minister Doyle said Ireland welcomed the move away from cross compliance but stressed the new model must not be over complicated.
Both he and Commissioner Hogan said farmers needed clarity on CAP reforms as soon as possible. Continuing debate on the overall European budget was one of the major stumbling blocks.
Hogan said he would like to see negotiations between the three European institutions, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council of Ministers, begin later this year.
This would be dependent on the European Parliament, for which elections are currently ongoing, finalising its position on CAP reforms.
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