The idea of a third CAP pillar after 2027, which includes tools and new funding to assist farmers dealing with crises, has been proposed by European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski.

Commissioner Wojciechowski suggested that the €450m available in the current CAP for supporting farmers in times of climate, weather, disease or market-related crises, is not enough for the scale of the challenges facing farmers, when he spoke after the EU Agricultural Outlook Conference.

The Commissioner mentioned flexibilities in once-off state aid schemes funded at national level, as being a welcome top-up to the EU’s crisis funds in the short-term, but warned that the EU still needs a larger pot into the future.

His home country of Poland allocated €3.7bn extra to farmers since March 2022, while Italy contributed an additional €2.4bn to its farmers above CAP.

The CAP budget also needs a stronger budget outside of just these crisis tools and the upcoming EU strategic dialogue on agriculture – which the Commissioner hopes will bridge the gap between farmers and non-farming agri-food stakeholders – will pose opportunities to begin pushing for a beefier CAP budget, he said.

The overall CAP budget stands at around 0.3% of the EU’s GDP and the Commissioner maintains that this is “not enough to ensure food security from a long-term perspective”.

“We need to have more instruments for crisis intervention at EU-level. We have the common market, the CAP, we need to also have the common intervention policy for all member states,” commented Commissioner Wojciechowski.

“There is many arguments to create something like the third pillar of the CAP for crisis intervention. This is my idea.”

He warned that the risks faced in the farming sector are contributing to the EU trend of declining numbers entering the farming sector.

The EU lost 3m farms in the past decade and it is exclusively smaller farmers in member states with lagging levels of farm output that leave, he claimed, but also medium-sized farmers in productive countries like the Netherlands.

“One of the reasons, in my observation, that young people don’t decide to continue the tradition of farming is the high risk to be a farmer.”