The European Commission has agreed to allow another five member states to increase advance payments to farmers affected by difficult climatic conditions in the first part of 2017.
The decision means that farmers in 15 EU countries are now eligible for an increase in their advance payments. The decision for the first 10 countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Finland) was taken in early September 2017. The five additional member states (Romania, Croatia, Ireland, Greece and the UK) made their requests for approval at a later date.
In order to avoid delaying the process for all countries concerned, the Commission decided to deal separately with the two sets of requests.
The different adverse climatic conditions, from droughts to heavy rainfall, they have experienced so far this year have put many farmers in financial difficulties. By allowing an increase in the level of advance payments that member state authorities give to farmers each year under common agricultural policy rules, the aim is to alleviate some of these cash-flow problems currently faced by farmers.
The agreement covers direct payments and certain rural development payments for farmers, which are usually allocated by member states as of 1 December and until 30 June of the following year. Member states can however choose to pay advances on these payments from 16 October in any given year, up to a maximum of 50% of the total amount for direct payments and 75% for rural development payments. The Commission's decision now allows member states affected by the adverse conditions to increase the maximum of the advance payment to 70% for direct payments and 85% for rural development payments.
It is now up to the eligible countries to decide whether or not they will take advantage, if they are able to, of this easing of the rules on advanced payments.
12 October 2017