The Agriculture Coordinators from the European Parliament’s four main political groups have urged Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to postpone the introduction of greening measures by one year.
Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson, alongside Albert Dess MEP (EPP), Paolo de Castro MEP (S&D) and Jens Rohde MEP (ALDE) have written to Commissioner Hogan and called for the delay to allow farmers and member states more time to correctly implement the complex environmental rules and as a result reduce the likelihoods of penalties.
Commenting Mr Nicholson said: “During the CAP reform negotiations I and others repeatedly warned that the greening measures were too complex and would be difficult to implement.
“In recent months it has been clear that farmers and members states were not getting the information needed from Brussels as to how the greening measures should be correctly implemented quickly enough to plan and prepare for the future. With 1 January 2015 fast approaching there is still confusion across the EU on this issue.
“Many members states, including the UK have called on the Commission to simplify the greening rules and have also voiced serious concerns that there could be an increased error rate as a result of the difficulties which are likely to be encountered.
“My concern has always been that the measures would not be workable on the ground and that the complexity and lack of clear information and guidance for farmers and member states would result in high levels of penalties being imposed at a later date.
“We have therefore urged Commissioner Hogan to delay the introduction of greening by one year – this would benefit farmers and member states alike. It is better for everyone concerned – including the Commission – that the implementation of greening is as smooth as possible and postponing its introduction until 2016 would provide valuable time to address the concerns and problems which still exist.”
Commissioner Hogan is due to appear before the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for the first time since taking over from his predecessor, Dacian Ciolos, next week.