Delivering on the new CAP objectives
The European Commission presented its proposal for the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform in 2018, introducing a new way of working to modernise and simplify the EU’s policy on agriculture. Following extensive negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission, an agreement was reached on the reform on June 25, 2021.
The new CAP is based on a more flexible performance and results-based approach that takes into account local conditions and needs, while increasing the European Union’s ambitions in terms of sustainability. It is built around nine common EU objectives and the cross-cutting objective on knowledge and innovation, which are also the basis upon which EU countries design their CAP strategic plans.
EU countries will implement the new CAP with a “CAP strategic plan” at national level. These plans will combine a wide range of targeted interventions addressing the specific needs of EU countries and delivering tangible results in relation to EU-level objectives, while contributing to the Green Deal ambitions. EU countries thus produce a thorough assessment of their needs based on a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis of their territory and agri-food sector.
The Commission is supporting EU countries throughout the whole process of preparation of their CAP strategic plan so that:
- EU countries take full advantage of the newCAP and its instruments to support their farmers in the transition towards increased sustainability in our food systems.
- Each CAP strategic plan includes an intervention strategy explaining how each EU country will use CAP instruments to achieve the CAP objectives, in keeping with the Green Deal ambitions.
Alignment with the European Green Deal
In May 2020, a Commission report examined the potential contribution of the CAP reform proposal to the EU’s environmental, climate, and biodiversity protection commitments, as set out in the European Green Deal. The report also identified the steps needed to make the new CAP fully compatible with the Green Deal and its strategies, such as the Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategies.
This includes the provision of Commission recommendations, in the framework of the structured dialogue between the Commission and EU countries to guarantee that the new CAP strategic plans fully support the transition foreseen in the Green Deal.
CAP strategic plans recommendations
The Commission provided each EU country with tailor-made recommendations, accompanied by a communication. They aim to assist in the drafting of the national CAP strategic plans by identifying the key areas on which each EU country should focus.
Based on an analysis of their agricultural sector and rural areas, the recommendations aim to ensure:
- The achievement of the nine specific CAP objectives, touching upon environmental, social and economic challenges and a cross-cutting objective on knowledge and innovation.
- The compliance with Green Deal ambitions and more specifically six Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategy targets. These are quantified EU level targets on the use and risk of pesticides, sales of antimicrobials, nutrient loss, area under organic farming, high diversity landscape features and access to fast broadband internet. The Commission asks EU countries to determine specific national values for these targets and align their CAP strategic plans to them.
CAP strategic plans fit for purpose
The Commission is tasked with approving the CAP strategic plans once they are officially submitted by the EU countries. During the approval process, which will be based on the criteria laid down in the new CAP strategic plan regulation, the Commission will use the recommendations as an important reference document to assess the plans.
Following the agreement on the new CAP which was reached between the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission in June 2021, EU countries must submit their CAP strategic plans by 31 December 2021. The Commission has six months to assess and approve the plans ahead of their implementation in January 2023.