Explanatory Memorandum to COM(2018)392 - Rules on support for strategic plans to be drawn up by Member States under the Common agricultural policy (CAP Strategic Plans) and financed by the EAGF and by the EAFRD - EU monitor

EU monitor
Friday, September 20, 2019
calendar

Please note

This page contains a limited version of this dossier in the EU Monitor.



1. CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSAL

Reasons for and objectives of the proposal

The Commission proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 (the MFF proposal) 1 sets the budgetary framework and main orientations for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). On this basis, the Commission presents a set of regulations laying down the legislative framework for the CAP in the period 2021-2027, together with an impact assessment of alternative scenarios for the evolution of the policy. These proposals provide for a date of application as of 1 January 2021 and are presented for a Union of 27 Member States, in line with the notification by the United Kingdom of its intention to withdraw from the European Union and Euratom based on Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union received by European Council on 29 March 2017.

The latest reform of the CAP was decided in 2013 and implemented in 2015. Since then, the context in which that reform was forged has shifted significantly. In particular:

Agricultural prices have fallen substantially – depressed by macroeconomic factors, geopolitical tensions and other forces.

The emphasis of trade negotiations has moved more visibly from multilateral to bilateral deals and the EU has become more open to world markets.

The EU has signed up to new international commitments – e.g. concerning climate change mitigation (through COP 21) and broad aspects of international development (through the UN's Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs), as well as efforts to better respond to other geopolitical developments including migration.

These shifts have prompted a public debate about whether the 2013 reform goes far enough to help the CAP adequately meet broad ongoing challenges related to the economic health of the farm sector, care for the environment, action over climate change, and a strong and economic and social fabric for the EU's rural areas – especially in view of emerging opportunities for action in the areas of trade, the bioeconomy, renewable energy, the circular economy and the digital economy.

The CAP must be modernised to meet these challenges, simplified to do so with a minimum of administrative burden, and made even more coherent with other EU policies to maximise its contribution to the ten Commission Priorities and the Sustainable Development Objectives. Indeed, as the Commission recalled in its recent Communication on the MFF, a modernised Common Agricultural Policy will need to support the transition towards a fully sustainable agricultural sector and the development of vibrant rural areas, providing secure, safe and high-quality food for over 500 million consumers. Europe needs a smart, resilient, sustainable and competitive agricultural sector in order to ensure the production of safe, high-quality, affordable, nutritious and diverse food for its citizens and a strong socio-economic fabric in rural areas. A modernised Common Agricultural Policy must enhance its European added value by reflecting a higher level of environmental and climate ambition and addressing citizens' expectations for their health, the environment and the climate.

As foreseen in its Program of Work for 2017, the Commission consulted widely on the simplification and modernisation of the CAP to maximise its contribution to the Commission's ten priorities and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This focused on specific policy priorities for the future without prejudice to the financial allocations for the CAP in the next MFF. The process included a large consultation, as well as analysis of available evidence on the performance of the CAP, including the relevant REFIT Platform opinions.

The outcome was presented in the Communication adopted on 29 November 2017 and entitled 'the Future of Food and Farming'. The Communication enables a structured dialogue on the future CAP in EU Institutions as well as with stakeholders. This policy document outlined challenges, objectives and possible avenues for a 'future-proof' CAP that needs to be simpler, smarter and modern, and lead the transition to a more sustainable agriculture.

In particular, the Commission identified higher environmental and climate action ambition, the better targeting of support and the stronger reliance on the virtuous Research-Innovation-Advice nexus as top priorities of the post-2020 CAP. It also proposed as a way to improve the performance of the CAP a new delivery model (NDM) to shift the policy focus from compliance to performance, and rebalances responsibilities between the EU and the Member State level with more subsidiarity. The new model aims at better achieving EU objectives based on strategic planning, broad policy interventions and common performance indicators, thus improving policy coherence across the future CAP and with other EU objectives.

Consistency with existing policy provisions in the policy area

Article 39 TFEU sets out the objectives of the CAP:

·to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour;

·thus to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture;

·to stabilise markets;

·to assure the availability of supplies;

·to ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.

This proposal is fully consistent with the CAP Treaty objectives. It modernises and simplifies the way the Treaty provisions are implemented.

Consistency with other Union policies

Agriculture and forestry cover 84% of the EU territory. The sectors both depend on and influence the environment. Therefore, a number of the proposed CAP specific objectives will trigger environmental and climate action in line with the respective EU policies.

It is well known that consumption patterns have an influence on public health. Via its link to food and sometimes also the way food is produced agricultural policies are linked to health policies. The proposals reinforce the links to health policy, in particular as regards healthy diets and the decrease of the use of anti-microbials.

The EU is a major importer of commodities and an exporter of valuable agriculture and food products and has therefore an impact on food systems outside the EU. The proposal, in line with Art 208 of TFEU, takes into account the EU development cooperation’s objectives of poverty eradication and sustainable development in developing countries, in particular by ensuring that EU support to farmers has no or minimal trade effects.

Finally, like in other sectors, agriculture and rural areas can make better use of new technology and knowledge, in particular of digital technologies. The proposals reinforce the links to research policy by putting the organisation of knowledge exchange prominently in the policy delivery model. Similarly, the emphasis placed on digitisation allows linking up to the EU Digital Agenda.

2. LEGAL BASIS, SUBSIDIARITY AND PROPORTIONALITY

Legal basis

Articles 42 and 43(2) TFEU as regards CAP Plan Regulation.

Subsidiarity (for non-exclusive competence)

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides that the competence for agriculture is shared between the Union and the Member States, while establishing a common agricultural policy with common objectives and a common implementation. The current CAP delivery system relies on detailed requirements at EU level, and features tight controls, penalties and audit arrangements. These rules are often very prescriptive, down to farm level. In the Union's highly diversified farming and climatic environment, however, neither top-down nor one-size-fits-all approaches are suitable to delivering the desired results and EU added value.

In the delivery model in this proposal, the Union sets the basic policy parameters (objectives of the CAP, broad types of intervention, basic requirements), while Member States bear greater responsibility and are more accountable as to how they meet the objectives and achieve agreed targets.

Greater subsidiarity will make it possible to better take into account local conditions and needs, against such objectives and targets. Member States will be in charge of tailoring CAP interventions to maximise their contribution to EU objectives. While maintaining current governance structures – that must continue to ensure an effective monitoring and enforcement of the attainment of all policy objectives - the Member States will also have a greater say in designing the compliance and control framework applicable to beneficiaries (including controls and penalties).

Proportionality

The economic, environmental and social challenges facing the EU's farm sector and rural areas require a substantial response which does justice to the EU dimension of those challenges. The greater power of choice to be offered to MS in selecting and adapting available policy tools within the CAP to meet objectives, in a more results-based model, should make it even less likely that the CAP oversteps a proportionate level of action.

Choice of the instrument

Since the original acts are all European Parliament and Council regulations the amendments must be introduced by European Parliament and Council regulation.

3. RESULTS OF EX-POST EVALUATIONS, STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATIONS AND IMPACT ASSESSMENTS

Ex-post evaluations/fitness checks of existing legislation

The CAP is deeply rooted in the construction and in the development of the European Union (EU). Established in the early sixties around goals enshrined in the Treaty, it has since undergone several waves of reforms to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector, to foster rural development, to address new challenges and to better reply to societal demands. The latest major reform was adopted in 2013. In the 2013 reform, the general objectives of the CAP were streamlined around three blocks:

1.

i. Viable food production


ii. Sustainable management of natural resources and climate action

iii. Balanced territorial development

To assess progress towards achieving the above objectives and identify future challenges, a wide consultation process encouraged a structured debate with all stakeholders, including non-agricultural actors. Furthermore, evidence on the performance of the CAP was gathered from a wealth of information available on the CAP (briefly summarised in Box 1 below), which served as background for assessing the achievements and shortcomings of the CAP over the years, but especially with respect to its most recent reform. This concerns in particular:

·evidence collected through the Common Monitoring and Evaluation and Framework (CMEF) which serves for measuring the performance of the CAP 2 ;

·A series of evaluation studies scheduled over the current Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020) to assess current CAP objectives, with first findings available in 2017/18 3 .

Results concerning progress towards targets and corresponding financial envelopes available in the Annual Implementation Reports (AIR) for Rural Development.

·Additional background documents, data, facts, figures relevant for the impact assessment have been published on the internet page of DG AGRI 4 .

Stakeholder consultations

An open public consultation was held with more than 322.000 submissions, structured dialogue with stakeholders, five expert workshops, opinions of the REFIT Platform, contributions from the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, and from National Parliaments. The process also took into account recommendations of the Agricultural Market Task Force (AMTF) 5 and the Cork Conference on Rural Development (2016). 6

Collection and use of expertise

In order to gather evidence/knowledge from experts on CAP-related issues a set of specialised workshops were organised between March 2017 and February 2018. These workshops allowed to exchange views between experts and Commission officials, and to advance in the formulation of the key conclusions/ issues to take into account in the modernisation and simplification process.

The five issues to be tackled by workshops were selected in order to cover the most relevant areas where gaps on knowledge and disagreements on policy approaches had been detected. The workshops were designed according to a similar methodology based on the following:

(1)collection of the latest evidence available at the level of experts, academics, practitioners and international institutions;

(2)focus on practical experiences on the ground;

(3)assessment on the potential of new technologies/approaches to improve future policy design in the specific area covered.

The summaries of the workshops and presentations are available at:

https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/events/cap-have-your-say/workshops_en

Workshop 1: Best practices addressing environmental and climate needs (23/24 March 2017)

This two-day workshop involved a wide range of experts on the environmental and climate challenges. It examined:

·tools available for assessing the environmental needs;

·methods to improve the uptake of the measures (with a focus on the role of behavioural approaches).

2.

Workshop 2: Risk management (18/19 May 2017)


This two-day workshop tried to advance in the collection of evidence in the debate on the tools to support the farming community to better face the production, price and income risks. It examined:

·the challenges of the EU market safety net and the recent developments in the risk management system in force in the US;

·the case of future markets in the EU, the EU agricultural insurance and reinsurance sector, the case of a public-private partnership and a crop insurance scheme;

·behavioural aspects of risk management.

3.

Workshop 3: Food and related issues (31 May 2017)


The Workshop on food and related issues examined the CAP's alignment to health policy and its capacity to facilitate farmers' adaptation to changes in consumption patterns. In particular Anti-Microbial Resistance warrants increased attention.

4.

Workshop 4: Socio-economic issues (9 June 2017)


The workshop on socio-economic issues focused on the analysis of the dynamics of growth and jobs in EU agri-food sector. It examined the links between global agriculture and food value chains in the EU from both a conceptual perspective and a practical perspective, based on case-studies.


5.

Workshop 5: Measuring the CAP environmental and climate performance (26 February 2018)


The workshop examined what basic policy objectives can be set at EU level, how they can be implemented at Member State level, and how they can be monitored, controlled and evaluated.

Impact assessment

The impact assessment supporting the legislative proposals, as well as the opinions of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB), are available on the following site:

List of impact assessments and the accompanying opinions of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

The RSB initially issued a negative opinion. While appreciating the ambition to modernise and simplify the CAP and the in-depth analysis of different scenarios that usefully highlight the trade-offs between the policy objectives, the Board considered that the report should better explain the rationale, feasibility and functioning of the proposed new delivery model. The required complements were added in the impact assessment report, including in a special Annex on the proposals for the new delivery model. On this basis, the RSB gave a positive opinion with reservations. While acknowledging improvements in the report, the Board requested further specifications on the precise safeguards for mitigating the identified risks. Annex 1 of the impact assessment report (Staff Working Document) spells out adjustments undertaken to meet the requirements of the Board.

Different policy options are presented and discussed in the impact assessment report. There is no preferred option in the impact assessment. Instead various combinations of elements of the proposals were tested in the different options to see what optimum mix could be distilled.

The options essentially test contrasted approaches to achieve the identified objectives:

1. varying levels of environmental and climate ambition, focussing on the potential effects of obligatory and voluntary systems of delivery;

2. different ways to support farm income and in particular its distribution between different farmers, focussing on the potential effects on small and medium-sized farms.

3. broader socio-economic interventions, in particular under the rural development policy, as well as cross-cutting approaches for modernisation.

The first option tests the potential of a voluntary eco-scheme to increase environmental and climate ambition. It also examines the potential role of risk management tools with lower direct payments in supporting farmers' income. Two sub-options reflect different MS environmental ambitions and approaches to direct payments within the new delivery model.

In another option, direct payments are better targeted and the implementation of conditionality is more ambitious in order to improve the joint economic and environmental performance of the CAP, as well as address climate challenges. Sub-options are also developed to illustrate possible differences in MS ambition regarding environmental and climate objectives.

A final option places strong emphasis on environmental care and employment – and shifts the focus on small and medium size farmers as a way to keep jobs in rural areas. MS are obliged to allocate 30% of pillar I payments to provide top ups for four schemes that would be voluntary for farmers - organic farming, permanent grassland, Areas with Natural Constraints (ANC) and linear landscape elements, to further encourage climate action and sustainable management of natural resources.

The impact assessment points out the difficult trade-offs that are inherent to a policy addressing so many diverse objectives, when basic parameters are significantly changed.

A key basic parameter is the level of CAP support. The cut of 5% proposed by the Commission in its May 2018 Communication for the 2021-2027 MFF is within the range considered in the impact assessment.

With respect to farm income, both the level and the distribution of support matter. Securing an adequate level of support and thus farm income remains a key element for the future, in order to ensure food security, environmental and climate ambition, as well as rural vitality. Better targeting of support to small and medium sized farms and areas with natural constraints can help keeping more jobs on farms and farming activity on the whole territory, hence strengthening the socio-economic fabric of rural areas. Capping and convergence can improve the distribution of direct payments. It is clear that any option that significantly redistributes direct payments towards farms and regions of lower productivity will, in the short-term, lead to a reduction of EU competitiveness, while it enhances the protection of the environment. Less clear, however, is the appropriate combination of measures that could mitigate negative income effects while at the same time better addressing challenges that are also pertinent for agriculture - such as environment and climate, or societal expectations. This requires incentivising adjustments that improve both the socio-economic as well as the environmental performance of the sector.

Contributions from the stakeholder consultation and analyses demonstrate that this is possible, provided that the necessary accompanying measures addressing a higher environmental and climate action ambition enable the adoption of best practices (in both conventional and other forms of farming) that include knowledge, innovation and the latest pertinent technology.

On the basis of the assumptions and choices made in the analysis, there are potential trade-offs in the achievement of economic, environmental and social objectives of the CAP, as well as with respect to its desired modernisation and simplification. In summary, redistribution could lead to manageable income impacts, and support the desired increased ambition of environmental and climate action and other CAP synergies. This, however, would require that the sector and the policy grasp the opportunities offered by innovation and technologies already allowing modernisation and simplification.

Other assumptions and choices would certainly alter detailed results, but not the main underlying message – that the preferred option for the future CAP should combine the most performing elements of the various options, but avoid their weaknesses by introducing the necessary safeguards to ensure an EU level-playing field. This implies the need for clear criteria for the level and the distribution of income support (e.g. capping and/or degressivity), the climate and environmental ambition, conditionality, the incentives for modernisation and the appropriate degree of subsidiarity/simplification.

Regulatory fitness and simplification

The complexity of the current policy implementation to a large extent is linked to the stress on compliance with detailed rules, laid down at EU level. The proposed new delivery model will remove the layer of EU level eligibility criteria for support which will allow the Member States to define eligibility conditions that are most suited to their particular circumstances. This is expected to produce a substantial simplification.

Historically the CAP developed in successive reforms into different instruments. Sometimes the coordination of these instruments has proved to be difficult. Under the current proposal all the different support elements of the CAP are brought together into one single and coherent framework which will reduce the administrative burden of the CAP implementation.

Fundamental rights

6.

The proposal respects the fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised in particular by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.


4. BUDGETARY IMPLICATIONS

The Commission proposal on the multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027 (COM(2018) 322 final) provides that a significant part of the EU budget should continue to be dedicated to agriculture, which is a common policy of strategic importance. Thus, in current prices, it is proposed that the CAP should focus on its core activities with EUR 286.2 billion allocated to the EAGF and EUR 78.8 billion for the EAFRD.

These agricultural funds are complemented by additional funding from Horizon Europe, as the proposed envelope for this program includes EUR 10 billion to support research and innovation in food, agriculture, rural development and the bioeconomy. A new agricultural reserve will be established in the EAGF to finance additional support for the agricultural sector. Unused amounts of the reserve in one year shall be carried over to the following.

As regards distribution of the direct payments among Member States, it is proposed that all Member States with direct payments below 90% of the EU average will see a continuation of the process started in the period of 2014-2020 and will close 50% of the existing gap to 90%. All Member States will contribute to financing this external convergence of direct payments levels. The Member States’ allocations for direct payments in the CAP Strategic Plan regulation are calculated on this basis.

For rural development, it is proposed to rebalance the financing between the EU and Member States’ budgets. In line with what is foreseen for the European Structural and Investment Funds, an increase in national co-financing rates will allow keeping public support to European rural areas largely unchanged. The distribution of EAFRD support is based on objective criteria linked to the policy objectives and taking into account the current distribution. As is the case today, less developed regions should continue to benefit from higher co-financing rates, which will also apply to certain interventions such as LEADER and the payments for management commitments.

A certain level of flexibility for transfers between allocations will be offered to the Member States. Up to 15% of respective direct payments can be transferred to EAFRD allocation and vice versa. A higher percentage can be transferred from direct payments to EAFRD allocation for interventions addressing environmental and climate objectives and installation grants for young farmers.

Details on the financial impact of the CAP proposal are set out in the financial statement accompanying the proposal.

5. OTHER ELEMENTS

Implementation plans and monitoring, evaluation and reporting arrangements

A shift towards a more performance-oriented policy requires the establishment of a solid performance framework that, based on a set of common indicators, will allow the Commission to assess and monitor the performance of the policy. The current Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (CMEF) and the current monitoring system of Direct Payments and Rural Development would be used as a basis for monitoring and assessing policy performance, but they will have to be streamlined and further developed (including consistency between the two pillars). Further investment into developing appropriate indicators and ensuring sufficient data streams would be needed.

A new Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (PMEF) will cover all instruments of the future CAP: the CAP Strategic Plans as well as those elements of the CAP not covered by the CAP Strategic Plans (some parts of the Common Markets Organisation, specific schemes). Performance would be measured in relation to the Specific Objectives of the policy by using a set of common indicators.

The new model will be organised around the following principles:

·Context indicators remain pertinent, as they reflect relevant aspects of the general trends in the economy, environment and society, and are likely to have an influence on performance.

·A selection of a limited, but more targeted set of indicators should be made primarily in a way to choose those that reflect as closely as possible whether the supported intervention contributes to achieving the objectives versus established baseline and using clear definitions.

·Overall policy performance will be assessed multi-annually on the basis of impact indicators. Annual policy performance follow-up will rely on the full list of result indicators.

·Output indicators would annually link expenditure with the performance of policy implementation. The latter is an annual exercise, and relies on a list of (primarily already available) output indicators.

·The reliability of relevant performance indicators can be facilitated by synergies between statistical and administrative data, but requires the presence of a system of quality controls.

In essence, what is being proposed is a shift in responsibilities and opportunities within a common framework, clearly defined and enforced, to deliver on more than one key objective at the same time, namely simplification, result-orientation (rather than compliance) and policy efficiency and effectiveness.

An annual performance review is foreseen as the key element of the ongoing monitoring and steering of policy implementation. In order to make an annual performance review operational, adequate output indicators and result indicators will have to be submitted jointly in an annual report on the implementation of the CAP Strategic Plan, the so-called Annual Performance Report. MS will report annually on realised output and expenditure as well as distance to targets set for the whole period, expressed as values of result indicators.

Evaluations will be carried out in line with paragraphs 22 and 23 of the Inter-institutional agreement for Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016, where the three institutions confirmed that evaluations of existing legislation and policy should provide the basis for impact assessments of options for further action. The evaluations will assess the program's effects on the ground based on the program indicators/targets and a detailed analysis of the degree to which the program can be deemed relevant, effective, efficient, provides enough EU added value and is coherent with other EU policies. They will include lessons learnt to identify any lacks/problems or any potential to further improve the actions or their results and to help maximise their exploitation/impact.

Explanatory documents (for directives)

Not relevant.

Detailed explanation of the specific provisions of the proposal

The proposal concerns three regulations:

·Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules on support for strategic plans to be drawn up by Member States under the Common agricultural policy (CAP Strategic Plans) and financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council ) (hereinafter: CAP Strategic Plan Regulation)

·Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 (hereinafter: CAP Horizontal Regulation)

·Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulations (EU) No 1308/2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products, (EU) No 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs, (EU) No 251/2014 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of aromatised wine products, (EU) No 228/2013 laying down specific measures for agriculture in the outermost regions of the Union and (EU) No 229/2013 laying down specific measures for agriculture in favour of the smaller Aegean islands. (hereinafter: Amending Regulation)

These regulations combined adjust the CAP by aligning its objectives to the Juncker priorities and the SDGs while at the same time simplifying the policy implementation. The CAP will become more adjusted to local circumstance by the removal of eligibility condition for support at EU level. Member States will be able to define most eligibility conditions at national level to make them appropriate for their specific circumstances. At the same time, the administrative burden linked to controls will be reduced by limiting the direct link between EU level eligibility conditions and the final beneficiaries.

With the aim of further improving the sustainable development of farming, food and rural areas, the CAP general objectives focus on the economic viability, the resilience and income of farms, on an enhanced environmental and climate performance, and on the strengthened socio-economic fabric of rural areas. Moreover, fostering knowledge, innovation and digitalisation in agriculture and rural areas is a cross-cutting objective.

The new CAP will pursue the following specific objectives:

(a)Support viable farm income and resilience across the EU territory to enhance food security;

(b)enhance market orientation and increase competitiveness including greater focus on research, technology and digitalisation ;

(c)Improve farmers' position in the value chain;

(d)Contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as sustainable energy;

(e)Foster sustainable development and efficient management of natural resources such as water, soil and air;

(f)Contribute to the protection of biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services and preserve habitats and landscapes;

(g)Attract young farmers and facilitate business development in rural areas;

(h)Promote employment, growth, social inclusion and local development in rural areas, including bio-economy and sustainable forestry;

(i)Improve the response of EU agriculture to societal demands on food and health, including safe, nutritious and sustainable food, as well as animal welfare.

To deliver on these objectives Member States shall ensure simplification and performance of CAP support. They will design interventions that are appropriate in their circumstances based on the types of interventions mentioned in the regulation. The Member States will have to pay particular attention to the environmental and climate specific objectives, to generational renewal, and to the modernisation of the policy implementation by focusing on a better use of knowledge and advice and new (digital) technologies.

The Member States will present their proposed interventions to achieve the EU specific objectives in a CAP Strategic Plan. The legislation lays down rules on the content of such a CAP Strategic Plan and the Commission will check the plans and approve them. The CAP Strategic Plans will combine most CAP Support instruments financed under the EAGF (including the sectoral programs that until now have been established under the CMO regulation) and EAFRD. In this way a single coherent intervention strategy per Member State will be designed though Member States. In the CAP Strategic Plans Member States will set targets on what they want to achieve in the programming period using commonly defined result indicators.

Once the CAP Strategic Plans are established Member States will annually report on the progress made in the implementation using a system of common indicators. The Member States and Commission will monitor progress and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions.

The section below provides information on the specific content of the three regulations.

CAP Strategic Plan Regulation

Title I provides for the scope of the regulation as well as definitions.

Tittle II presents the CAP general and specific objectives that have to be pursued through the interventions designed by the Member States in their CAP Strategic Plans. Title III introduces a number of common requirements for the CAP strategic Plans, as well as elements which apply to several interventions. The common requirements concern compliance with general principles and fundamental rights such as the avoidance of distortion of competition, respect for the internal market and non-discrimination as well as the respect of the rules of WTO domestic support. They also include requirements as regards specific elements to be defined in the CAP plans, such as what is an agricultural area, an agricultural activity, a genuine farmer, a young farmer. This section describes, the obligations under conditionality (the requirements any beneficiary of area-based payments has to comply with concerning good agricultural practices but also obligations stemming from EU legislation, and the need to have well-functioning farm advisory services.

Finally this Title presents the types of interventions that the Member States may use to implement their CAP Strategic Plans. Types of interventions are the broad categories of interventions that Member States my use in their CAP Strategic Plans.

Title IV provides financial provisions. It includes in particular financial allocations per Member State and per Fund and defines the flexibility for transferring allocations between funds. It provides the contribution rates for EAFRD in relation to public expenditure in the Member States and sets out some minimum or maximum financial allocations for specific purposes.

Title V presents the rules on the CAP Strategic Plans. It mentions what elements Member States have to take into account when drafting a CAP Strategic Plan and what shall be its minimum content including targets and financial planning. This title also explains what rules apply for the approval of the CAP Strategic Plans by the Commission and how such plans can be amended.

Title VI provides the necessary elements on coordination and governance. It attributes responsibilities to Member States' authorities for specific tasks related to the CAP Strategic Plans. It establishes a monitoring committee to involve all stakeholders. It also establishes networks that have to facilitate the successful implementation of the CAP Strategic Plans. These networks will be established both at national and at EU level. Finally, this title establishes the European Innovation Partnership in order to stimulate the exchange of knowledge and innovation.

Title VII introduces the performance monitoring and evaluation framework laying down rules on what and when Member States have to report progress on their CAP Strategic Plans and rules on how this progress will be monitored and evaluated. This title in particular contains the rules on a performance bonus for good environmental and climate performance.

Finally, Titles VIII and IX concern the competition rules, which explain how in particular State aid rules have to be applied, and the final provisions that explain what regulations are repealed and when the regulation becomes applicable.

CAP Horizontal Regulation

It is proposed to maintain the current structure of the CAP in two pillars with annual measures of general application in Pillar I complemented by measures reflecting the national and regional specificities under a multi-annual programming approach in Pillar II. However, the new design of the CAP for post 2020 will point to an increased subsidiarity so that Member States can better tailor implementing measures under both Pillars to their realities and farmers' concrete circumstances. More subsidiarity means rebalancing the responsibilities in the management of the CAP and looking for a new relationship between the European Union, the Member States and the farmers.

On this basis, the current CAP Horizontal Regulation is adapted to the new delivery model and reflects more flexibility for Member States in implementing the policy (in line with their local needs), less bureaucracy for beneficiaries and shift to a performance-based policy.

The move at EU level from an emphasis on compliance to performance requires a clear identification of the objectives which the policy has to achieve: again, these objectives will be established at EU level. In order to advance towards a more result-driven policy mechanism, there will be a shift from assurance on legality and regularity of the underlying transactions to assurance on performance and the respect of EU basic requirements, like the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) or the governance bodies (paying agencies, coordinating bodies, competent authorities and certification bodies). The robust and reliable governance structures which characterise the CAP will be maintained.

In addition to financing provisions, the CAP Horizontal Regulation continues to have provisions on general principles for checks and penalties, checks for conditionality and IACS. As a result, the regulation lays down rules on financing, management and control systems, clearance processes (annual financial clearance and annual performance clearance) and conformity procedure.

This regulation includes various simplification elements. First of all, the new annual performance clearance reflects the shift from compliance by the individual beneficiary to performance of the policy in the Member States.

Furthermore, it foresees reducing the number of paying agencies and reinforcing the role of the coordinating body and certification body in line with the new delivery model. This will render the system more transparent and less burdensome for both national administrations and the Commission. The concept of the single audit approach is introduced, in line with the Financial Regulation and the number of Commission audits can be reduced.

Amending Regulation

The Communication on the Future of Food and Farming confirms market orientation as a key element of the CAP, but also highlights challenges related to environmental sustainability and climate change. Moreover, it places the agricultural sector squarely in the debate about food and citizens' concerns in that regard, recalling that "the most important role for the policy is to help farmers anticipate developments in dietary habits and adjust their production according to market signals and consumers' demands". As detailed rules that may prevent the necessary adjustments are laid down at EU level, the reform presents an opportunity to make necessary changes. The CAP should furthermore address citizens' concerns regarding sustainable agriculture production.

It is therefore foreseen to maintain the architecture and main features of Regulation (EU) 1308/2013, while amending a limited number of provisions in view of economic, environmental and societal evolutions experienced since its entry into force in 2014.

Firstly, it is foreseen to delete provisions related to sectoral interventions that have previously been laid down in Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013, as these interventions of the future CAP will be regulated under the [CAP plan regulation] and be part of Member States' strategic plans, to ensure a better coherence of CAP interventions.

Secondly, while the successive 2008 and 2013 reforms of the wine policy have overall reached their objectives, resulting in economically vibrant wine sector, new economic, environmental and climatic challenges have appeared. Therefore, the regulation foresees a number of specific amendments to existing rules to cope with these challenges.

Thirdly, the Communication on the Future of Food and Farming called for geographical indications (GIs) to be made more attractive to farmers and consumers, and render the system easier to manage. It is therefore proposed to amend current rules on GIs, spread over four basic Acts, aiming at a simpler GI system, faster registration of geographical indications and more efficient approval of amendments to product specifications. These changes aim to a simplified GI system that would be more understandable to consumers, easier to promote and would reduce administrative costs of managing the system.

On rules for wine GIs, limiting the EU scrutiny of applications to checking them against manifest errors, separating intellectual property rules from other requirements laid down in the product specification as well as habilitating Member States to decide on amendments that do not have impacts at EU level, would streamline approvals, shorten timelines, and rationalise resources, in line with the twin principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. In the same vein, simplification of some specific procedures, for example the opposition procedure, is envisaged to make the approval process more efficient.

Clarification of the definition of Protected Designation of Origin for wines will enable producer groups to use new varietals, also needed in response to climate change, and allow proper justifications of applications in line with viticulture and oenological realities. Strengthening protection of GIs against counterfeiting of GIs on the interned and on goods in transit is also proposed.

The simplification proposed for wine GIs has to be applied also to agricultural products and foodstuffs: to ensure reasonable level of coherence between the schemes and bring the above benefits to producers of GIs in this sector, too. The aromatised wines GI scheme that only has 5 out of 3350 GIs, cannot be operational and should be merged into another scheme – the agricultural products and foodstuffs scheme is appropriate as already covers other alcoholic beverages.

Furthermore, the regulation foresees provisions that merely translate into internal legislation commitments taken by the EU and its Member States in the context of recent World Trade Organization Ministerial Decisions, notably on export subsidies.

Finally, it is proposed to delete a number of obsolete provisions, inter alia the system of production regulation and requirements applying to the sugar sector that expired at the end of the 2016/2017 marketing year.