Slovenia sees agreement on CAP as exceptional achievement

Brussels/Luxembourg – EU agriculture ministers have reached agreement on the new common agricultural policy (CAP) for 2021-2017 after lengthy negotiations. Slovenia’s Jože Podgoršek labelled the deal as an exceptional achievement for the entire agricultural sector.

As the ministers discussed the new CAP, the key issue was ensuring that the agricultural sector contributes to the attainment of climate goals without putting at risk other goals of key importance for its development.

The agreement enables a greener, more just and simpler CAP while raising the environmental ambition and providing sufficient flexibility for maintaining competitiveness, said German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner on behalf of the German EU presidency.

Labelling the compromise an exceptional achievement, Podgoršek said on Wednesday that “Slovenia has managed to secure important elements for the development of agriculture, while considering the environmental protection guidelines.”

The minister added that special attention was paid to small farmers in that the administrative burden will be reduced.

In the negotiations, Slovenia advocated an ambitious CAP as regards the environment and climate change, while maintaining that the solutions of the new green architecture must be balanced and proportionate.

According to Podgoršek, the key is greater flexibility in the provision of funds from the first and second CAP pillars (direct payments to farmers and rural development policy) when it comes to environmental measures in the first two years.

He added that this flexibility enabled member states not to lose funds in the event farmers participate in the new environmental schemes at a lower rate in the initial period, when they are expected to lack the necessary experience.

The Slovenian Agriculture Ministry said that Slovenia has enough flexibility to programme an environmental scheme, and that its environmental and climate effort through the rural development programme would be taken into account.

The ministry has also noted a significant progress in terms of flexibility regarding standards for good agricultural and environmental conditions of land for agriculture.

Slovenia will be able to adjust certain requirements to its features, primarily related to small farmers, it added.

Slovenia is also satisfied with the amount of funds for payments coupled to production as part of the first pillar, and welcomes the possibility to simplify the system of control for small farms.

Podgoršek added that the ministry was drafting strategic documents to address the requirements of the new objectives, with the first drafts expected to be ready at around New Year’s.

While acknowledging the need to be ambitious, the minister noted that the CAP, which pursued many other objectives of key importance for development of agriculture in addition to the environmental objectives, must be balanced.

The compromise is only a starting point for the EU member states for negotiations with the European Parliament, which will vote on its negotiating position at this week’s plenary.