EU - Simplification of the direct payments in the Common Agricultural Policy and greening are two of the issues that have been put top of the list of priorities for the new European Commissioner for agriculture Phil Hogan.
In the brief that has been given to the new agriculture commissioner, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has told him to concentrate his efforts on implementing eh new CAP reforms.
But he has also been told to simplify the system of direct payments within a year in particular in the areas of greening, rural development, quality policy and the fruit and vegetables scheme.
Commissioner Hogan will also be concentrating on implementing the CAP reform with the aim of maximising its contribution to the Commission’s jobs and growth agenda, paying particular attention to the principle of subsidiarity and to issues linked to the flexibility and simplification of CAP instruments.
Commission President Juncker said: “The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is crucial to our food security and to our jobs and growth agenda.
“It contributes to the sustainable development of Europe’s agriculture and to ensuring the well-being of our rural areas.”
The President told Commissioner Hogan: “Since a reform has just been decided upon, your first challenge will be to implement it in a proactive manner as part of our key priorities.
“Production patterns and structures in EU agriculture must adapt to take into account world-wide population growth, income disparities and the scarcity of natural resources and climate change.
“These challenges also bring new opportunities for our agricultural sector.”
UK National Farmers' Union president welcomed the decision to simplify the direct payments and greening of the CAP.
“We expect Mr Hogan will be a strong champion of productive, sustainable agriculture and I look forward to working with him to ensure our farmers are at the centre of a globally competitive industry,” said Meurig Raymond.
“There are many challenges ahead not least the immediate management of the Russian trade ban and how that impacts on farming across the board.
“In terms of priorities, the last reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, which I firmly believe has been a step in the wrong direction, must be top of the new Commissioner’s agenda.
"What’s needed now is time to critically evaluate its outcomes, in particular to look at an early review of the current greening measures.
"I am therefore delighted to hear that President Juncker has asked Mr Hogan to review 'the potential for further simplification in the areas of direct payments and in particular as regards greening'.”