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Agriculture ministry welcomes deal on CAP reform

Hungary's agriculture ministry has welcomed an agreement among European Union countries on a reform of the bloc's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Following a month of consultations after talks on the new CAP deal broke down at the end of May, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council was successful in convincing the European Parliament to withdraw its proposals that would have hurt European farmers, the ministry quoted Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy as saying.

One of the biggest disagreements concerned the rules on subsidies for farmers whose land is smaller than 10 hectares, Nagy said, welcoming that under the new CAP, smallholders will not have to meet the strict requirements applying to crop rotation and non-productive areas.

The minister said the EP’s proposal would have even required farmers whose land is smaller than 5 hectares to rotate their crops, adding that the costs of such a regulation to farmers would have far outweighed any environmental benefits.

Another point of debate, Nagy said, was the money to be allocated towards environmental and climate protection. He noted that 25 percent of the funds available from the direct payments to farmers will be allocated towards so-called eco schemes. This arrangement, he said, struck the right balance between competitiveness and fighting climate change.

Also, thanks to the efforts of the central European Visegrad Group, vulnerable sectors like the dairy sector and fruit and vegetable producers will continue to receive adequate support, Nagy added.

The agreement on the CAP reform is crucial for the future of Hungarian farmers, the minister said.

He praised the agriculture sector for ensuring a steady food supply for the EU during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The reforms will now have to be approved by both the European Council and the EP. Member states have until Dec. 31 to submit their CAP strategies to the European Commission.

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