The EU agricultural Ministers want a Common Agricultural Policy that is easier to administer and that more decisions should be left to the Member States.
Today’s discussions demonstrated an overall desire for simplification, flexibility and optionality of certain schemes for farm subsidies.
”There is consensus on the principles in the Commission’s proposals on direct payment. But many have an understandable concern about increased bureaucracy and about lack of sufficient consideration to national and regional differences. There is an overall desire for simplification and for some of the schemes to be optional ,” says the chair, Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Mette Gjerskov.
Especially suggestions for a definition on active farmers and for capping subsidies for the individual farmer have raised concern with regard to red tape involved. Therefore both the Commission and the Presidency have put forward suggestions for simplifications that were welcomed by most Member States at today’s meeting. A majority also wish the proposals for young and small farmers to be optional.
A proposal for internal redistribution was received with reservations by many Member States. The general perception in Council is that the Commission’s proposal is too extensive and that, as a minimum, a longer transition period and more flexibility for Member States is needed.
Finally, the Council gave an update on the state of compliance with the Directive on the protection of pigs. By 1 January 2013 Member States are required to keep pregnant sows and gilts in groups.
In the coming months the Danish Presidency will continue discussions on the future agricultural policy with thematic discussions on greening in May and on rural policy in June. The aim is to present a progress report when handing over the Presidency to Cyprus on 1 July.