Agricultural development reforms approved

agricultural development reforms
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The Agricultural Committee in the European Parliament has approved a second round of proposed reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy.

The reforms, following the approval yesterday of EU agriculture policy measures updating common market organisation on agricultural products, focus on the development of rural areas and increased support for farmers in minority groups after 2020. MEPs also approved a provision mandating that at least 20 per cent of the EU’s direct payments to agricultural projects must be allocated to eco-schemes; while at least 30 per cent of the rural development budget must go to fund climate change mitigation measures.

The committee agreed on measures compelling Member States to impose a cap on their direct payments to farmers of €100,000 per year, although up to 50 per cent of the agriculture-related salaries paid out by farms may be deducted from the total amount before reduction. At least five per cent of Member States’ direct payments must go to small and medium agricultural enterprises, while at least two per cent must be directed to young farmers; with additional support for young farmers to come from rural development funding. MEPs further recommended that Member States set aside a percentage of their rural development budgets to promote the increased inclusion of women in rural industries.

Rapporteur Esther Herranz García said: “I tried to strike a balance between supporting farmers and protecting the environment. Green architecture has been strengthened, putting a stronger accent on an incentive-based approach. A fairer distribution of the payments has been proposed to support farming SMEs. The key priority was to safeguard the common rules to protect EU policy and treat farmers across the EU equally and avoid market distortion, while giving more leeway to member states to adapt to their particular domestic situations. The committee has also insisted on maintaining the CAP budget at its current level and I hope the EU governments support our call to maintain a strong CAP.”

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