Agriculture Poland

EU loosens CAP scheme to placate farmers

| 2024-03-16 2 min read

EU loosens CAP scheme to placate farmers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The EU announced further concessions for the bloc’s agricultural workers, especially for smaller farms, to quell agricultural workers’ protests, on Friday, 15 March.

The changes to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidy programme were proposed on Friday evening. The European Commission (EC) said EC President Ursula von der Leyen has promised Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to cut bureaucracy and relax environmental rules for farmers applying for CAP.

The EC wrote in a statement “today’s legislative proposal is a direct response to the hundreds of requests received from farmers’ representative organisations and member states, and complements the Commission’s short-term actions already underway to help reduce the administrative burden for farmers. It is carefully calibrated and targeted to maintain a high level of environment and climate ambition in the current CAP,” it added.

Attempt to placate agricultural worker protests

Farmers and lorry drivers in Poland have been blocking borders to protest imports from Ukraine allegedly undercutting prices. While Polish hauliers suspended their activism, farmers’ demonstrations have intensified. Farmers demonstrations have also taken place in France, Spain, Italy and Belgium this year.

One instance exempts farms under ten hectares from CAP’s checks and penalties. An earlier relaxation frees farmers from compulsory fallowing. The EU is also considering restricting Russian farm imports.

Tusk tweeted “Breaking news! Concrete for farmers: fallowing will not be obligatory, starting this year. This is the result of my talks with the head of the Commission.”

Von der Leyen said “the Commission is taking strong and swift action to support our farmers in a time when they are dealing with numerous challenges and concerns. 

“Today’s proposals – crafted in close cooperation with farmers, key stakeholders, our Member States and MEPs – offer targeted flexibilities to help farmers do their vital work with greater confidence and certainty. 

“We are sending a clear message that agricultural policy adapts to changing realities while staying focused on the key priority of protecting the environment and adapting to climate change. 

“The Commission will continue to stand steadfastly by our farmers, who maintain EU food security and serve at the frontline of our climate and environment action,”  von der Leyen added.

Commissioner underlines pragmatic approach

Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski said “Today’s proposals mark another strong step in the Commission’s response to reduce administrative burdens for farmers and reinforce fairness in the food supply chain.

“The proposals embrace a pragmatic and targeted approach to enable the good work of our farmers and provide increased flexibility for Member States to achieve CAP objectives. Our work over the coming weeks and months is crucial, to ensure that the full potential of these proposals benefit farmers on the ground,” Wojciechowski added.

However, environmental groups say the plans to abandon environmental measures will not solve issues around unfair pricing and climate change. The EU member states and the European Parliament will now negotiate the proposals.