The next CAP and the proposals put forward by the European Commission are the focus of a week of debates and votes in the European Parliament this week.

MEPs took a significant step in finalising their position on the reform of the EU’s farm policy for the next seven years when they voted on an extensive list of amendments on Tuesday night.

As reported by the Irish Farmers Journal, MEPs voted against a motion that would have scrapped the CAP proposals, requiring a complete redraft form the European Commission.

Some MEPs and environmental lobby groups had pushed for the total rejection on the basis that amendments put forward by an alliance of parties including Fine Gael’s grouping, the EEP, and Fianna Fáil’s grouping, Renew, did not go far enough on environmental and climate action.


These amendments were overwhelming passed and made a number of significant alternations to the CAP proposals.

MEPs voted for 30% of member states’ direct payment budgets to be set aside for eco-schemes, equating to €355m annually for Ireland.

However, they do propose that 60% of all farm subsidies must be in the form of direct payments to protect farm incomes.

They also voted for 35% of the rural development budget to be dedicated to similar green measures, or €110m in Ireland’s case to be spent on these schemes annually. However, they have stated that 40% of ANC payments can count in this total, something the Commission does not want.


MEPs approved an increase in sanctions for those who repeatedly fail to comply with regulations, in areas such as animal welfare and the environment, from 5% currently to 10%.

They want member states to dedicate at least 6% of the direct payment budget to supporting small and medium farmers.

The Commission had wanted a mandatory percentage of all farm to be set aside as non-productive areas aimed at promoting biodiversity. MEPs have voted that only tillage farmers will have to meet a 5% requirement, similar to Ecological Focus Areas under Greening.

This will come under cross-compliance and amendments have passed which set out details for nine mandatory Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC), two more than the current CAP.

MEPs have voted for a farm advisory service be set up in every EU country and that 30% of all funds advisers receive from the EU should be to help farmers fight climate change and protect biodiversity.

Next steps

These amendments set the foundation position of the European Parliament. The full amended package will not be voted on until later in the week. It looks set to pass, and assuming it does it will set the Parliament’s mandate for trilogue negotiations with the Council and Commission.

The outcome of these negotiations will determine the final shape of the next CAP.

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