Copa-Cogeca push for simplified CAP

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Copa-Cogeca has sent a letter with detailed proposals to EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan, outlining areas where simplification in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is vital.

The move comes after the Commission launched a screening exercise this year to simplify the entire agriculture legislation and cut red tape for producers, inviting comments from key stakeholders.

Outlining key points, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen stressed: “The most urgent problems that farmers across the EU are facing when implementing the new CAP are the gaps in the rules and the lack of clarity, especially vis a vis the greening rules.

“The risk of unintentional errors during the first years of implementing the CAP will therefore be high, which would automatically cause payments to be cut.

“Since it is already too late to provide greater clarity about the rules, there must consequently be a certain amount of tolerance in the first years vis a vis cuts in greening payments.

“The whole sanctioning system also needs to be revised since even minor errors result in huge cuts in farmers payments.”

Pesonen continued: “We are also extremely worried that the number of controls will increase as a result of the numerous direct aid schemes under the new CAP. We will need to ensure that all eligibility conditions for the greening measures are controlled at the right moment with the higher control rate until all potential Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) have been mapped.

“We therefore believe for instance that it makes sense to check all greening requirements that can be controlled at that moment in one inspection only.

“In addition, the increasing amount of information requested will make the aid application more complex 
for farmers, in particular in 2015 due to the extremely short period of time available to them.

“One way to alleviate the burden would be to ensure that farmers are given the possibility to correct errors as part of the application process,” he added.