UFU fully supportive of early EU talks to simplify reformed CAP rules

Thursday, 14 May, 2015

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed the early talks by EU Farm Ministers and the EU Commission on the simplification of the recently reformed Common Agriculture Policy, with European Commissioner, Phil Hogan already outlining his ‘first set’ of amendments to the CAP  rules as part of his simplification agenda.

UFU Deputy President Barclay Bell said: “In Commissioner Hogan’s first set of proposals he emphasises that, in implementing the CAP, greater account should be taken of the subsidiarity and proportionality principles and that particular attention should be paid to: making EU legislation easier to understand and to implement on the ground; taking due account of specific national and regional situations and reducing the administrative burden and associated costs for farmers.  One of the main immediate issues for us has been the ‘Greening’ requirements of the new CAP with both Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) and crop diversification proving particularly problematic. However, in the Commissioner’s proposals he seeks to address this issue already and sees scope for simplification by giving more flexibility to individual Member States on the greening rules which is something which we have been seeking from the outset. We are also particularly pleased to see that the Commissioner is proposing that a more proportional and risk-based approach should apply to controls. He believes that the calculation of penalties should be simplified and that the control penalty system for cross-compliance should also be revised in relation to proportionality. He will also explore the possibility of allowing payments, including advance payments, after the completion of administrative checks.  All of these are major issues that we have been lobbying hard to secure for some considerable time and would be particularly welcomed by farmers.”

“Genuinely simplifying the CAP has been a major challenge for us and farmers in Northern Ireland and I believe Commissioner Hogan is committed to making a real and positive difference on the ground. The UFU will ensure that we keep on top of the Commissioner's initiative now that the opportunity exists and we will be keeping a close eye on developments as these proposals go forward to be discussed with the parliament and commission.”