MEPs call for a delay to greening

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Four prominent MEPs, including Northern Ireland’s Jim Nicholson (ECR), have written to Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, urging him to delay the start of the CAP greening measures by one year.

While attractive, the initiative is not gaining traction in Council and is viewed as unrealistic by those close to the Commissioner.

Instead, the council is working on a set of conclusions which will call for “proportionality” in the first years of implementation. Commissioner Hogan is expected to announce a process of CAP simplification to the European Parliament on Wednesday.

This is likely to state what is possible in the short term, but rule out a wholescale scrapping of greening at this stage.

The BAB office is working with Copa and UK government officials to ensure that implementation of the new rules is as seamless as possible and that farmers are not left disadvantaged by unreasonable EU demands.

EU budget talks resume

EU budget talks for 2015 have resumed again this week, following a new proposal from the commission. The new proposal reverses the cuts to the CAP budget introduced in the last round of talks.

This means that the crisis reserve of €400m (2011 prices) remains intact to cover the cost of any impending market crisis. The council and parliament are yet to agree to the new Proposals, but if all goes according to plan, the 2015 budget will be agreed by December 18.

Farmers to receive refund after crisis reserve not spent

Farmers are to be reimbursed after funds set aside for the 2014 crisis reserve were not spent, the commission has confirmed. In 2013, a 5% cut to direct payments was made to establish a crisis reserve fund.

However, after not making use of the reserve, the commission has now directed member states to return €868m (£688m) to European farmers. Rules state that the refund should be processed before October 1 2015.