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Political Deal Will Allow Cap To Progress

The EU Council and Parliament’s late-night political agreement on outstanding budgetary issues is a major step towards finalising CAP reform, and the Commission must now publish its implementation proposals as a matter of urgency, says NFUS.  

Talks this week have focused on the rural development budget, including co-financing, degressivity, a national ceiling for direct payments and flexibility between pillars.

The agreed texts will now be presented to the EU Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and EU Member States pending a plenary vote by MEPs and EU Council adoption by Member States heads of government later this year.

NFUS President, Nigel Miller, who held talks with EU Commission officials ahead of this week’s meetings said:

“It is helpful that a basic, high-level agreement has now been reached by EU institutions and that a high degree of uncertainty has been addressed.

“The EU Commission must now bring forward proposals for the new CAP's implementing regulations as soon as possible so that Scotland’s decision-making process can progress.

“NFUS met EU Commission officials ahead of this week's meetings and has been in constant dialogue with the Scottish and UK Governments on Scotland's priorities throughout the summer.

“Our priorities remain clear: direct support must be available for active farmers, including new entrants, from day one of the new CAP. Scotland must also receive an equitable share of the UK's Pillar One budget. Those funds must not be relied upon to prop up our rural development measures in Pillar Two, but it is crucial that our rural development programme continues to prioritise LFASS.

“The transition to the new area-payment system should be made manageable in order to help businesses adapt to the new area-based arrangements, with the potential for coupled support to be provided to those sectors which are most vulnerable, such as beef production and breeding hill flocks.  Degressivity - a means to cut by 5% any payment over €150,000 - could well affect some of Scotland's larger units and is an unfair levy on those striving to achieve a balanced economy of scale, especially on units with poorer land.

“The greening measures still threaten many of our arable producers, and NFUS will continue to impress upon the Scottish Government the need to devise an 'equivalent' system, which will permit them to farm without unmanageable constraints but in a way that still satisfies the EU's stipulations.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

The main elements of the agreement reached last night are summarised below:

  • Concerning the co-financing rates for rural development, the Council accepted the Parliament request to increase the rate for less developed regions, outermost regions and smaller Aegean islands on a voluntary basis to 85%. This constitutes a major additional concession from the Council side on the clear understanding that an overall agreement is now concluded on CAP reform.
  • On the presentation of the annual breakdown per Member State of the rural development budget, the Council agreed to include this breakdown in an annex to the rural development regulation granting the power to the Commission to amend this annex through delegated acts in clearly defined circumstances.
  • As regards direct payments and more specifically on degressivity, the Council made a significant effort in the direction of the Parliament by moving towards a rate of 5% for amounts above €150,000 along with a 5% rate for the derogation in relation to the redistributive payment. Degressivity will apply only to the basic payment or the single area payment.
  • On national ceiling for direct payments and flexibility between pillars, the European Parliament accepted the position of the Council.

Ends

Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

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