CAP simplification: State of play

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Series Details January 2016
Publication Date January 2016
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The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2014-2020, with a budget of €408.31bn and more than 7m beneficiaries across Europe, was approved in 2013. At Member State level, implementation began in 2015 and is still ongoing. In this context, simplification of the CAP is an objective shared by the European institutions as well as national administrations, stakeholders, and above all, farmers.

The European Commission considers CAP simplification to be a key priority, even more today than in the past, as confirmed by Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan’s address to the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in December 2014. The Commission has already started the simplification process, and at the end of 2015 put forward a technical simplification package consisting of delegated and implementing acts. Another simplification package is scheduled for spring 2016.

In May 2015, at the European Parliament hearing on ‘How to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy’, some Members insisted that, if the Commission were serious about simplifying the CAP and reducing bureaucracy, it would need to review the legal text and not simply make changes by way of secondary legislation.

Nonetheless, it appears unlikely that a major restructuring of the basic architecture of the CAP will take place in the current programming period. Instead, a fine-tuning or light review of certain of its elements might be anticipated. More substantial proposals for a post 2020 CAP might be presented only after 2017, in line with the communication on the post 2020 Multiannual Financial Framework. In this context, particularly regarding the political elements of the CAP, the role of the European Parliament, as co-legislator, is significant and will be of utmost importance for an effective simplification process.

Briefing written by Francesco Tropea

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