Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Hogan wants 'results-based' approach to CAP payments

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan at the EU 2017 Agriculture Outlook Conference in Brussels.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan at the EU 2017 Agriculture Outlook Conference in Brussels.

margaret donnelly

Brussels will stop checking the height and width of hedgerows and the number of trees in fields in the future as Member States become more responsible for shaping the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan told the 2017 EU Agricultural Outlook Conference in Brussels yesterday that the future CAP would continue to be based around simplification and modernisation, but would have less of a 'top down' approach, with greater flexibility for Member States to suit local needs.

The recent white paper on the future of CAP outlined a new 'green architecture', which Mr Hogan (pictured) said will build on the positive experience of greening and cross compliance; he added that farmers must develop a higher level of climate ambition for themselves.

"We are focused on moving to a results-based approach," he said, pointing out that while 30pc of direct payments are linked to greening, a one-size fits-all approach does not work.

"The CAP needs more ambitious targets and greater flexibility for Member States to suit local needs," he said.

"The present policy is too prescriptive with Brussels imposing a top-down approach as regards what should or should not be good actions to take to comply with our policies.

"We are asking Member States to be able to show us how they can meet EU-wide objectives. Through those particular policies they will have to show us how they can meet the EU-wide objectives.

"This is a better effort to take account of the diversification and diversified nature of agriculture right around Europe and remove ourselves from a 'one-size-fits-all' approach and give more flexibility on the context of implementation of EU policy objectives in each Member State."

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Initial reaction, he said, to the recent white paper is that "people are concerned the EU is moving away from the C (common) in the CAP and towards what is being described as the renationalisation of the CAP."

The European Commission, he said, is not shirking its responsibilities or dismantling the internal market. "The principle of what we are proposing is greater subsidiarity of Member States," he explained.

High-level objectives will be set at EU level, he said, and they will be translated into a set of specific objectives that will have results set and qualified output indicators, so Member States can define their targets.

Decisions

"Member States' plans will not take decisions in isolation but within a structured Commission process with a common EU objectives," he said.

This will mean that the CAP and greening will move towards a more results-based policy and that Brussels will no longer be setting the width or height standards for hedgerows or the amount of trees in a field.

"What we ware proposing is a significant step change," he said - one that will change the relationship between Member States, the Commission and CAP beneficiaries.


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