CAP simplification (exploratory opinion)

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EESK:s yttrande: CAP simplification (exploratory opinion)

Key points:

  • The EESC recognises the fact that the European Commission has made it a priority to thoroughly simplify common agricultural policy (CAP) implementation and that it has already proposed, and will continue to propose, the simplification of certain Commission acts, making EU legislation easier to understand and to implement on the ground.
  • The EESC believes that increased transparency and legal certainty, and the reduction of unnecessary administration and associated costs for farmers, other beneficiaries, producer organisations and national administrations, is a necessary part of the simplification process.
  • Inspections and possible fines must be proportionate to the amount of money received by the beneficiary, the reasons for the non-compliance and the willingness to take corrective actions. Clear instances of deliberate fraud must be dealt with via normal procedures. The EESC recommends reducing disproportionality between large reductions of support even for minor infringements.
  • Application of greening measures must take into account unexpected factors such as weather conditions, drought or other such events that make the measures impossible to implement.
  • Where matters such as permanent grassland have been the subject of decisions in the European Court of Justice, it is important that rules established to respect the judgement are designed in a manner that minimises regulations rather than increases them.
  • Temporary grassland should retain the status of arable land, regardless of how long it is used as grassland.
  • The current definition of an "active farmer" must not disadvantage farmers and should be based on the fact that land eligible for aid is being used by the farmer for agricultural purposes.
  • Measures to ease the access by young farmers into the Young Farmers Scheme need to be explored and introduced immediately. Access of young people to agriculture should be supported.
  • The EESC recommends that a rule on limiting increased bureaucracy be established. For example, the adoption of a rule to allow for the elimination of an existing regulation when a new one is proposed.

 

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Relevant CoR opinions:

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