From 2014 onwards, the new Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), is a greener CAP. All Member States, all rural areas and all farmers will take simple, proven measures to promote sustainability and combat climate change. Between 2014 and 2020, over EUR 100 billion will be invested in the European Union's rural areas to help farming meet the challenges of soil and water quality, biodiversity and climate change:
- 'Greening' of 30% of direct payments to farmers will be linked to three environmentally-friendly farming practices: crop diversification, maintaining permanent grassland and conserving 5%, and later 7%, of areas of ecological interest as from 2018 or measures considered to have at least equivalent environmental benefits.
- At least 30% of the rural development programmes' budget will have to be allocated to agri-environmental measures, support for organic farming or projects associated with environmentally friendly investment or innovation measures.
The post 2013 CAP is a more efficient and transparent CAP.
The CAP instruments will allow each EU Member State to fulfil common objectives in an efficient and flexible manner, taking account of the diversity of the 28 Member States:
- The amount of funding to support research, innovation and knowledge-sharing will be doubled.
- Rural development programmes will be better coordinated with other European funds and the sector-based approach will be replaced by a more adaptable national or regional strategic approach.
- A simplified aid scheme for small farmers will be available to the Member States that so desire.
- Details of all CAP aid will be made public, with the exception of the very small amounts allocated to small farmers.
All aspects of this reformed CAP will be applicable as from 1 January 2014, except for the new direct payments structure ('green' payments, additional support for young people, etc.) which will apply as from 2015 in order to give Member States time to inform farmers about the new CAP and to adapt computer-based CAP management systems.
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