Brussels -- Today the Council and the European Parliament reached political agreement ad referendum on transitional measures for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2014 in an informal inter-institutional meeting in Strasbourg. The main elements of this agreement were discussed in an informal trilogue on this issue held in Brussels on 17 October.
The agreement on the reform of the CAP reached between the EU institutions in June and September this year should lead to the adoption of the provisions, together with their publication in the Official Journal, before the end of the year. For direct payments and rural development, the new rules will start to apply as from 1 January 2015. In order to bridge the gap between the current provisions and the reformed CAP, the transitional measures for the year 2014 comprise technical arrangements designed to enable a smooth transition from the current to the new legal framework. At the same time such measures aim to ensure the continuity of the various forms of support under the CAP.
As regards direct payments, sufficient time must be available to allow Member States, and especially their paying agencies, to be well prepared for the implementation of the new rules agreed under the CAP reform. Member States also need sufficient time to provide farmers with detailed information on the new rules well in advance. That is why Council and Parliament agreed in June to postpone the implementation of the new rules on direct payments until 1 January 2015. The transitional regulation will ensure that for 2014 farmers will be able to claim direct farm payments under the existing rules.
The transitional regulation also provides for a number of elements of the CAP reform package to apply already as from 1 January 2014. This concerns in particular the possibility for Member States to transfer funds between the two CAP pillars, the possibility to grant redistributive payments to smaller farmers, and the application of the new rules on transitional national aid in Member States applying the Single Area Payment Scheme (SAPS).
For coupled payments, both institutions agreed that in 2014 Member States could increase the maximum rate of certain coupled support schemes to 6.5 % of the national ceilings (compared to 3,5% under the current provisions).