EU - EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan described to ministers measures he intends to take to simplify the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), at a meeting of the EU Agriculture & Fisheries Council on Monday.
Mr Hogan previously identified CAP simplification as one of his key priorities as Agriculture Minister.
He said he hoped the move would decrease the burden on farmers and reduce costs to taxpayers.
So far, Mr Hogan has acted to extend the application deadline for direct payments, and change the application guidelines.
He announced a number of further simplification moves at the meeting, including:
- Allowing preliminary checks of applications to prevent errors, and allowing farmers to make corrections to reduce uncertainty surrounding form-filling;
- Reducing the number of on-the-spot checks, and combining some checks by taking more samples at once;
- Allowing farmers to apply as groups to provide benefits under the agri-environment and climate parts of the scheme;
- Providing more opportunities for farmers to modify their greening plans for land, in case they need to adapt the plans during the growing season.
Other measures to be looked at include market measures, marketing standards, trade mechanisms, carcass classification and member states' notifications.
Reacting to the meeting, farming organisation Copa and Cogeca welcomed the measures as a step forward, but called for private storage aid for pigmeat to be introduced in December.
Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “We welcome as a positive step the fact that Mr Hogan has come forward with a list of measures to simplify the CAP to make life easier for farmers.
“We are nevertheless calling for pigmeat private storage to be introduced already in December rather than January. We urge the Commission and Member States to act on this.
"It was the only measure for pigmeat included in the aid package and it would be much more effective to be introduced in December. Without timely action, many producers will be forced out of business," he warned.