The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan has said that he is in the course of proposing a package of measures in relation to the simplification of greening. However, he added that the environmental aspect of the CAP is still as relevant as ever.

“While I have offered a number of compromises, which I believe address many of the concerns expressed, it is important to restate that the CAP is an economic, environmental and social policy,” Hogan said. “The CAP has a strong environmental dimension and that is as it should be. The simple facts are that the environmental dimension is here to stay and on my watch we will not lower our level of environmental ambition.”

The proposals have already been met with some opposition.

“I am conscious that opposition has been expressed in respect of three of the proposals contained in the package, including a proposed ban on the use of pesticides on EFA,” Hogan said.

Omnibus regulation

The Commissioner has already proposed further simplification of the CAP under the “Omnibus regulation” that he hopes will be in place by 2018.

“More simplifications are on the way: changes to market rules will substantially reduce 250 Commission regulations to around 40,” Hogan said. “These simplifications make life easier for farmers and other operators, allowing them to focus more closely on the potential of their holdings and businesses to deliver jobs and growth.”

The first is a sector-specific income stabilisation tool, which “will give member states the possibility to design a tool tailored for a specific sector, which it is intended will make it more attractive for both farmers and administrations”.

Also included is a proposal to introduce simpler rules for accessing loans and other financial Instruments. This is intended to provide “greater access to capital for farmers, particular young farmers for whom access to credit is an ongoing problem.”

In the direct payments regulation, the Commission is proposing to allow member states greater discretion in the application of the definition of an “active farmer”. In effect, member states will be able to decide whether or not they wish to continue applying the existing definition of “active farmer”.

“The proposals will require the full co-decision with the Council and the European Parliament,” Hogan said. “I have urged the co-legislators, in whose hands the proposal now is, to ensure that these meaningful changes can be in force by the start of 2018.”

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