The decision to start the review process of the new CAP and its completion before the holding of the European elections, received the Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union, after the pressure exerted by Athens with all the available means.

Greece, after accepting most of the proposals it made today at the Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries of the EU, will continue with the same determination to adopt more technical improvements as well as structural changes in the new CAP, said the Minister of Rural Development and Food Lefteris Avgenakis .

At the same time, European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowskirecognized the need for change and emphasized that flexibility should be shown towards farmers and not punitive.

After the end of the Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries of the EU, the Minister of AAT Lefteris Avgenakis said:

“Today’s meeting of Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries of the “27” took a first brave step and through a substantial dialogue highlighted the need to take immediate measures for serious technical improvements in the operation of the CAP, adopting, at the same time, many of the proposals submitted by our country.

It is the unanimous position of the Council that more simplification and flexibility is needed for the application of the CAPs so that they can be adapted to the particularities of each Member State.

The Belgian presidency has taken a first big step, but the effort to improve the CAP must continue.

Greece will continue with the same determination the effort for more technical improvements but also for structural changes for the benefit of our farmers.

We utilize all collaborations, and in particular through the European People’s Party and in the alliance of the 9 European countries of the South (EU MED 9), in a methodical way, we push to achieve structural changes in the CAP 2023-2027″.

Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski’s statement:

In the context of the press conference he gave after the conclusion of the Council of Ministers of Agriculture, the Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski said, among other things, that he intends to propose an increase in state aid of minor importance (de minimis) to farmers, as requested by some Member States, an extension of current temporary framework of state aid and the autonomous measures for Ukraine for the period 2024-2025, but also the conversion in the future of certain restrictive conditions (GAEC) imposed on farmers in voluntary eco-schemes, because these have better results . Overall, he emphasized that flexibility should be shown towards farmers and not a punitive attitude, while he also spoke of a positive reaction of the member states to the proposals of the European Commission, which were presented last week.

The CAP review process

At today’s Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries all states agreed on the need to revise the current CAP and submitted their proposals.

The President of the Council, Belgian Minister of Agriculture David Clarinval committed to the review being done with the current composition of the European Parliament.

In the coming days the Special Committee on Agriculture is to consider the direct procedures for the review.

The Presidency of the Council sends its proposals to the European Commission, the Commission’s aim is to carry out the revision in the current term (before the European elections).

The president of the European Commission Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, in collaboration with the heads of the member states are going to come up with the text of the revision.

Today is important because it gives the green light to start this whole process.

Submission of 19 proposals from Greece

Greece submitted 19 proposals for technical changes to the CAP, while the Greek minister pointed out the need to start the discussion on structural changes as well.

Among the 19 proposals are the following:

– Simplification of controls and rationalization of penalties

-We support exemptions from health checks for small farmers and no penalty for any farmer not complying with the Standards in the year 2024.

-Amendments for the sustainable transition and protection of small producers

-Flexibility in the application of Airworthiness Standards based on regional and local characteristics, both for the year 2024 and in the long term.

– Possibility to use 2% of the CAP at will in times of crisis

-The agricultural reserve is not enough to cover all types of crises. At the level of immediate reaction, the Greek minister said that he has expressed his support for the adhoc mechanism proposed by Croatia to utilize part of the CAP Strategic Plans budget.

-Facilitating the transfer of unallocated amounts between years for the annual interventions of the first Pillar.

– Harmonization of regulatory requirements regarding investments in irrigation projects.

– Simplifying and speeding up the process of approving amendments to Strategic Plans, as well as increasing the number of permitted amendments. As he said, he considers the reinstatement of the N+3 rule self-evident

-Strengthening the position of farmers in the agri-food chain

As he said, “the survival of our farmers depends primarily on their competitiveness. Unfair trade practices undermine the contribution of farmers in the chain, strengthen monopolies and work negatively for the whole of society which bears huge increases in the prices of basic food items”.

The proposals of the 9 Ministers of Agriculture of the EPP

-More flexible selectability, especially in relation to Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) 1, 6, 7 and 8.

-Complete exemption of farmers subject to condition checks from cross-compliance checks.

-Complete exemption of small farmers (up to 10 hectares) from compliance checks with condition requirements.

– Relaxation of sanctions and penalties.

-Better position of farmers in the food supply chain.

“All legal proposals that have an impact on the agricultural sector must be accompanied by an adequate and comprehensive impact assessment.”