Commission publishes recommendations for Common Agricultural Policy national strategic plans
18 December 2020, Brussels: the Commission published recommendations for each Member State to assist in the drafting of their Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plans, accompanied by a Communication. These recommendations are part of the dialogue between the Commission and Member States to support them in implementing the CAP as of 2023 as well as to ensure that their CAP strategic plans contribute in an ambitious way to the European Green Deal.
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A key element of the CAP reform, these strategic plans will establish how each Member State will use the CAP instruments based on an analysis of their conditions and needs, and with the aim to achieve the specific objectives of the CAP as well as the European Green Deal targets.
Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said: “The recommendations to Member States are a crucial step in the transition towards increasing the sustainability and resilience of our agricultural sector. I strongly encourage Member States to take these recommendations on board while drafting their CAP strategic plans. By doing this, we can ensure a CAP that is aligned with the Green Deal and that supports farmers as drivers of the green transition. Together with the European Parliament and the Council we will ensure that the CAP reform maintains the necessary environmental and climate ambitions.”
The Commission provides recommendations for each Member State based on an analysis of their agricultural sector and rural areas. These recommendations are linked to the nine CAP specific objectives that touch upon environmental, social and economic challenges and to a crosscutting objective on knowledge and innovation.
In addition, the recommendations take on board the European Green Deal ambitions and more specifically six quantified Farm to fork and Biodiversity targets. They aim to show the direction that the CAP strategic plans need to take to fulfil these objectives and targets by identifying key issues that need to be tackled by Member States and how to address them. To do this, the recommendations also provide a state of play in terms of Green Deal objectives. For example, the attached map shows the emissions from livestock per hectare for each Member State.
Also, to achieve the 25% organic farming target, the Commission has recommended to a large majority of Member states to develop the necessary food supply chain structures, identify the local potential of organic production, promote the consumption of organic products and ensure support for conversion to and maintenance of organic farming through rural development.
In addition, regarding the CAP objectives related to increasing competitiveness and attracting young farmers, the Commission recommends to multiple Member states to facilitate access to finance, for example by making greater use of financial instruments available under the rural development framework.
Another example, is the reduction of the use and risk of pesticides. The Commission recommends to Member States to promote the sustainable use of pesticides by ensuring the uptake of integrated pest management They focus on the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to the agro-ecosystem and encourages natural pest control methods. Finally, the recommendations also point to the need to increase the value of agricultural products at primary producer level, through geographical indications or local and regional supply chains.
A structured dialogue between the Commission and Member States was put in place following the publication of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies in May 2020. These two strategies were presented in the context of the European Green Deal to enable the transition towards the increased sustainability of our food systems and to tackle the key drivers of biodiversity loss. They include the targets, to be reached by 2030, of a reduction by 50% of the use and risk of pesticides, a reduction by at least 20% of the use of fertilizers, a reduction by 50% in sales of antimicrobials used for farmed animals and aquaculture, as well as reaching 25% of agricultural land under organic farming, and ensuring 100% access to fast broadband in rural areas by 2025.
The Commission presented its proposals for the CAP reform in 2018, introducing a more flexible, performance and results-based approach that takes into account local conditions and needs, while increasing EU level ambitions in terms of sustainability. The new CAP is built around nine objectives, which is also the basis upon which EU countries design their CAP strategic plans.
The European Parliament and Council agreed on their negotiating positions on the reform of the CAP respectively on 23 and 21 October 2020, enabling the start of the trilogues on 10 November 2020. The Commission is determined to play its full role in the CAP trilogue negotiations, as an honest broker between the co-legislators and as a driving force for greater sustainability to deliver on the European Green Deal objectives.