Commission Delays Start to New Rules on CAP Direct Payments

EU - A decision to delay the implementation of new rules governing CAP direct payments is the right one, the NFU said today (7 December).
calendar icon 7 December 2012
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The European Commission has confirmed the move to delay the start date of the new direct payments regime to January 1 2015, as talks to reform the policy have taken longer than expected.

The NFU had lobbied the Commission to push the date back to give farmers and paying agencies sufficient time to implement the new regulation which will include a number of new elements to the future single payment scheme.

Gail Soutar, NFU senior CAP advisor, said: “We have consistently told the EU decision makers that there must be sufficient time after the CAP legislation is decided at a political level to implement the new regime on the ground. This is to ensure that farmers are not faced with a re-run of the complete fiasco which was created when the RPA rushed to implement the introduction of the single farm payment back in 2005. It is good to see the Commission finally seeing common sense and pushing the start date back to 2015 for this part of the CAP.

“However, while negotiations are making slow progress in Brussels, real life goes on for farmers trying to make informed business decisions. We will continue to work with the Commission and Defra to ensure that guidance on practical issues such as future entitlements, rules on active farmer tests, succession and other business changes is available to farmers as soon as possible to address as best we can the on-going uncertainty surrounding CAP reform.”

Confirming the delay to direct payments to 2015, Gwilym Jones, from Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos’ cabinet, also told a conference in London yesterday that as far as the Commission was concerned, there was still enough time to agree and implement the new rural development programmes from January 1 2014.

Ms Soutar said: “I am afraid I do not share the Commission’s optimism for the start of the next rural development programmes. We have written to Commissioner Ciolos asking him to put in place safeguards to ensure that there is no policy gap for rural development claimants in the period before the next rural development programme takes effect.

“We will continue to work closely with the policy makers in Brussels and in Westminster to get a fair CAP reform outcome for our members.”

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