The EESC congratulates the Commission on its proposal for a transitional regulation to support European farmers, and the positive outcome of the vote in the European Parliament Comagri Committee, which will ensure a smooth transition from the current (2014-2020) to the next (2021-2027) CAP period.
The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform should be adopted by October 2020, but the negotiations for the next programming period are far behind schedule, situation even more aggravated by the coronavirus crisis.
As the budget-programming period for the current CAP ends on 31 December 2020, and it does not contain the amount of Union support or national ceilings for the years after, urgent measures are to be taken to provide certainty and continuity in the granting of support to European farmers.
This certainty in such uncertain times can only be ensured if the current legal framework is extended at least for the years of 2021 and 2022, which implies the use of old rules, with new money.
Arnold Puech d'Alissac, rapporteur of the opinion, draws the attention to the fact that "a year without direct aid from the first pillar would result in deficits for all farmers; a year without aid from the second pillar would interrupt commitments for high environmental and climate objectives and put back investment for modernisation".
As for concrete aspects of the regulation, the EESC warns of the risk of setting the deadline for notifying changes at 1 August 2020. Too late an agreement on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) might fail to allow timely decisions to be taken at national level. The EESC welcomes the fact that second pillar multiannual measures (organic farming and agri-environment-climate measures) are extended by a year, but calls for the duration of the related commitments to be extended to five years, as in the 2014-2020 period.
The EESC therefore urges the co-legislators to adopt this regulation as soon as possible, as well as to strengthen the CAP budget on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF 2021-2027). European farming and EU food security are two assets that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought back to the fore.