Copa Cogeca seeks simplification, clarification and flexibility re new CAP reform rules

In a letter sent to EU Commission Director-General for Agriculture and Rural Development Jerzy Bogdan Plewa today, Copa-Cogeca warned of the severe problems farmers and agri-cooperatives are facing in implementing the new CAP rules, especially greening, warning clarification and simplification is vital.

Copa-Cogeca pointed out most of the changes introduced by the reform will happen over a very short period of time and on the same date, namely 1st January 2015. Farmers now have to acquaint themselves with so many complex requirements that they will probably need to call on specialised external expertise to ensure that the new rules are correctly implemented. The uncertainties will undeniably increase the risk of unintentional non-compliance during the first years of implementation of the CAP, thus leading to a reduction in the greening payment. This is all the more important as the rules, even before the application of penalties, will result in disproportionately large reductions even for minor infringements of the rules. We consequently urge the Commission to confirm any outstanding greening queries as soon as possible and to oblige national administrative authorities to provide assistance and comprehensive information to farmers. Moreover, since it is already too late to provide greater clarity on the rules, there should be an appropriate level of tolerance introduced for the first years under the new CAP. Finally, we welcome the European Commission’s initiative to examine ways to simplify direct payments and greening measures for farmers. A reduction in red tape, whilst respecting the objectives of the CAP, would release time and resources for investments, growth and jobs.

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