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Simplification of the CAP

Simplifying the CAP is essential to making our agricultural economy more competitive, preserving and creating jobs and contributing to a sound development of our rural areas.

Simplifying the CAP is an ambitious project as agricultural and rural development policies are by nature complex. Simplification must be compatible with broad policy objectives such as

  • the environment,
  • food safety,
  • cohesion and
  • protection of the Union’s financial interests.


The purpose of simplification is to ensure that

  • policies,
  • the mechanisms chosen to implement them and
  • the necessary legal framework

are never more complex than is necessary to achieve the intended objectives effectively.

Farmers and other economic operators in the agricultural sector should be relieved from red-tape and requirements that are not needed to reach political objectives or to ensure proper management of taxpayers' money.


During the past years, a great number of projects and activities to simplify the CAP and to cut red tape for farmers have been carried out successfully.

Here are just some examples from a long list:

  • A single Common Market Organisation (CMO) replaced the previously existing 21 CMOs. Its creation allowed the repeal of 86 Council acts and replaced more than 1080 legal articles with around 350.
  • The 2009 "Health Check" further decoupled and abolished several schemes, such as payments for energy crops and durum wheat as well as the disposal scheme for cream, butter and concentrated butter.
  • For imports, licence requirements were reduced from 500 to 65 and for exports, only 43 licence requirements remain.
  • The Commission repealed specific marketing standards for 26 types of fruit and vegetables, meaning operators no longer face compliance costs, national authorities no longer need to carry out controls and less produce will be wasted.
  • Farmers are no longer required to keep land at their disposal for 10 months to receive direct payments, thus gaining greater flexibility in their farm management and in responding to market developments.



More information


CAP reform

With the new basic EU regulations of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy the vast majority of CAP legislation will be defined under four consecutive Regulations – a significant simplification!

>> Go to the basic regulations 


Cleaning up of agricultural rules

The Common Agricultural Policy is shaped by a vast number of rules. On a regular basis these rules are reviewed and obsolete elements and rules that have no practical relevance are removed from the CAP.

>> See Regulation (EU) No 1229/2011 of 16 November 2011 repealing certain obsolete Council acts in the field of the common agricultural policy български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)hrvatski (bg)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)

>> See Regulation (EU) No 1230/2011 of 16 November 2011 on repealing certain obsolete Council acts in the field of common commercial policy български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)hrvatski (bg)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)

>> See the list of acts to be removed from the active acquis pdf български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)hrvatski (bg)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv) (08/11/2011)


List of 39 suggestions - assessment

A Commission staff working document of November 2009 describes the outcome of an assessment of 39 simplification suggestions, submitted at the Council (Agriculture/Fisheries) on 24 April 2009, and the state of play of other simplification activities

>> Read the working document pdf - 308 KB [308 KB]


2009 Communication: "A simplified CAP for Europe - a success for all"

This Commission Communication highlights the activities that have been carried out since 2005, and provides indications of the resulting reduction in administrative burden for farmers and administrations.

>> Read the Communication български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)hrvatski (bg)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)

>> Read the press release български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)hrvatski (bg)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)

>> Read the summary pdf - 21 KB [21 KB] български (bg)čeština (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti keel (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)français (fr)italiano (it)latviešu valoda (lv)lietuvių kalba (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)


2005 Communication: "Simplification and Better Regulation for the Common Agricultural Policy"

In this Communication the European Commission proposed a major simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy with the aim to reduce red tape for both farmers and administrations by making rules more transparent, easier to understand and less burdensome to comply with.

>> Read the Communication български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)hrvatski (bg)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)

>> Read the press release

>> Read the background memo


Evaluations of administrative burden

Pillar II: "Study on administrative burden reduction associated with the implementation of certain Rural Development measures" (08/2011)

>> Read the Pillar II report


Pillar I: "Study to assess the administrative burden on farms arising from the CAP" (11/2007)

>> Read the Pillar I report


Rolling Simplification Action Plan

In a working paper of October 2006 the Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development set up an Action Plan for the simplification of the CAP.

>> Read the Action Plan pdf - 134 KB [134 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr)

>> State of play (11/2013) pdf - 336 KB [336 KB]


Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens

In a 2009 Communication the Commission published an overview of its "Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the EU - Sectoral Reduction Plans and 2009 Actions".

>> Read the Action Programme български (bg)czech (cs)dansk (da)Deutsch (de)eesti (et)ελληνικά (el)español (es)Français (fr)Gaeilge (ga)hrvatski (bg)italiano (it)latviešu (lv)lietuvių (lt)magyar (hu)Malti (mt)Nederlands (nl)polski (pl)português (pt)română (ro)slovenčina (sk)slovenščina (sl)suomi (fi)svenska (sv)


Opinion of the High Level Group

In March 2009 the High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens generally known as the Stoiber Group, published its opinion on administrative burden reduction in the priority area 'Agriculture / Agricultural Subsidies'.

>> Read the opinion


The Harvest Experience Programme

The programme whose implementation started in 2010 has for objective to give Commission officials a deepened understanding of the reality on the field and of the challenges faced by the agricultural sector, so as to make them better placed to draft policies and legislation that connect with that reality.

>> Read more on the Harvest Experience Programme pdf - 16 KB [16 KB]







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