The new EU law we have approved today is of utmost importance for our farmers as it provides legal certainty and financial aid to help the crisis-stricken food sector recover over the next two years. It is a solid bridge towards future rules, which gives farmers and national administrations sufficient time to prepare for the post-2022 CAP reform, said Elsi Katainen (RE, FI), rapporteur on the transitional EU farm policy rules.
This is not a simple extension of the status quo. We are providing our farmers, food producers and rural communities with an ambitious toolkit and the funding necessary to increase resilience, sustainability and to digitalise the sector so that they can engage more actively with climate change adaptation and mitigation, said Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT), rapporteur on the EU recovery aid.
A new EU law, approved on Wednesday by 653 votes in favour to 19 against, with 22 abstentions, extends the application of existing Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) rules until the end of 2022. This ensures that payments to farmers and rural development beneficiaries can continue.
Thanks to MEPs, member states will be able to make it easier for farmers to receive compensation for severe drops in income and for losses caused by adverse climatic events, outbreaks of animal or plant diseases or pest infestations. Parliament also pushed through measures that give member states more leeway in supporting farmers, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. MEPs also managed to extend the duration of new multi-annual rural development projects that focus on organic farming and climate and environmentally-friendly measures beyond three years, and included animal welfare projects in the package.
Speeding up delivery of €8 billion in aid to farmers
Recently agreed rules on ways that farmers, food producers and rural areas can use the €8 billion in COVID-19 crisis aid to finance their resilient, sustainable and digital recovery in the next two years are also part of the overall deal. Around 30% of the recovery money will become available in 2021, and the remaining 70% would be released in 2022. MEPs managed to secure at least 37% of the recovery funding for organic farmers, for environment and climate-related actions and for animal welfare. At least 55% of the fund will support on-farm investments that contribute to a resilient, sustainable and digital recovery and young farmers’ start-ups.
The text agreed by MEPs and member states and endorsed in the Parliament still needs a green light from the Council before it can enter into force.
The draft regulation is the second of two proposals tabled by the EU Commission to ensure a smooth transition to the post-2022 CAP. The first set of transitional rules was approved by the Parliament in December 2019. Negotiations between the Parliament and Council on the final shape of the post-2022 EU farm policy reform are now ongoing.