NFU calls for reassurance on CAP delays

An important vote on CAP has been delayed by the European Parliament’s agriculture committee until the end of January, which has prompted concerns from the NFU.

According to NFU estimates, around 5,000 farmers, whose agreements come to an end on 31 December 2013, could be affected if a reformed CAP cannot be agreed in time for 1 January 2014.

The NFU has also said that basic arrangements are in place for ‘pillar one’ provisons, such as the Single Farm Payment to ‘roll on’ if the tightening of a timetable leads to delays into 2014.

Despite arrangements being in place for pillar one, NFU said there were no such arrangements for ‘pillar two’, which includes agri-environment schemes.

Senior CAP and international affairs adviser Gail Soutar said: “News of CAP delays must prompt the Commission into urgent action to safeguard farmers and the environment.

“To be clear, delays are not really a problem for ‘pillar one’ direct support payments, or the single farm payment. The basic legislation is in place to allow for the current SPS to roll on, on an annual basis.

“However, it is not so straightforward for pillar two; the rural development regulation. The current programme comes to an end on 31 December 2013. If there is no new regulation agreed, and no transitional rules are put in place to roll on the current programme, then those farmers will be left stranded.

“Farmers, whose agri-environment commitments come to an end after the 31 December 2013 deadline, will have no alternative rural development support schemes to apply for. In essence, those farmers will fall into a policy hiatus.”

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