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AGRI Committee Signs Off CAP Vote

Members of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee have yesterday and today voted on the shape of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from 2014 to 2020.

After three gruelling voting sessions in the Committee, with votes on the four CAP reports (Direct Payments, Rural Development, Single CMO and Horizontal Measures), it is now possible to see the shape of the Parliament's position on the new CAP. These CAP reports will now be voted on by the full Parliament plenary session, probably in March, and will then become the negotiating position of the Parliament in negotiations with the Council and Commission.

Highlights of the results for Scottish farmers are:

  • All the Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) relating to animal ID were deleted, as were SMRs on food safety and TSEs. EID is now out of cross-compliance measures.
  • The GAECs on groundwater protection, minimum soil cover, minimum land management to prevent erosion and preventing first ploughing and carbon rich soils were also deleted. The Water Framework Directive and the Pesticides Directive are also not going to be included.
  • The Commission's transparency proposals (names and amounts of CAP beneficiaries would be published) were deleted entirely.
  • The definition of Permanent Pasture includes "any species suitable for grazing".It is land which "is not included in the crop rotation of the holding and not ploughed for seven yeas or longer".
  • The so-called Scottish Clause in the Direct Payments Report was successful, allowing a tightening of the definition of an active farmer.
  • The capping level is set at 300,000 EUR.
  • The funds from capping will stay in the region or Member State where they were generated and will be used for Pillar 2 measures.
  • A National Reserve shall be used to award entitlements to young farmers, and to farmers who have never previously held entitlements ("new farmers").
  • Greater flexibility within the greening proposals.
  • The current LFA scheme can be rolled over for the next 2 years until the Commission brings forward a legislative proposal for reform at the end of 2014 based on objective biophysical criteria.
  • 25% of Pillar II funds will be reserved for support under agri-environmental payments and organic farming payments.  5% of the funds will be reserved for LEADER projects.

Alyn said:

"And so it is done! At least for the Committee stage anyway.

"From our perspective, the four reports are better suited to the specificities of Scottish farming now than they were before the committee amendment process. The herbaceous issue is cleared up, the greening measures are more workable and new entrants have got guarantees of support in black and white now.

"From today's votes, we have had one major scoop. We have seen all SMRs relating to animal ID deleted, meaning that sheep EID would be taken out of cross-compliance altogether. I know all too well just how much of a relief this would be to so many of our farmers. Of course, we'll need to see how it fares in plenary and in negotiations with Council but certainly the Committee has made a very clear statement today.

"It's not all good news though - a double funding passage (whereby farmers would get paid twice to do the same thing) in the rural development report will need to be cleared up in plenary or in trialogue negotiations or we will have legal issues to deal with before we even begin. We have also seen the Commission's transparency proposals deleted leaving us worse off than we were before.

"All in all, a good bit of work to get us here and if this is the general shape of the Parliament's position as we head into negotiations then I think Scottish farming is sitting in a promising position for the next CAP."

Alyn did an "Alyn Explains" video for Youtube after the CAP vote finished today which can be viewed at: