After negotiations continued late into last night, the Irish Presidency said that it had agreed in principle to support a mandatory top-up of direct payments for young farmers in Pillar I of the new CAP 2014-2020.
As Ministers meet in the Agriculture Council and discuss the latest proposal for a revised negotiating mandate, CEJA urges them to accept the new mandate so that it can be put to the European Parliament Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI) tomorrow in order to achieve political agreement on a strong CAP for the future of European agriculture and to provide farmers with an end to uncertainty by the end of the Irish Presidency.
Young farmers have been a key part of this reform, and CEJA has been particularly vocal on the importance of a mandatory young farmer scheme in Pillar I of the new CAP – in order to stop distortions across the Union and therefore an unfair playing field for young people attempting to enter the sector. The European Commission has supported this from the beginning and included it as a mandatory scheme in its legislative proposals released in October 2011; this was reinforced in turn by the European Parliament after votes in COMAGRI and then plenary on the Parliamentary reports on the CAP proposals. CEJA now welcomes progress made in trilogues over the past two days, and calls on the Council to accept the Presidency’s revised negotiating mandate which includes a mandatory top-up of direct payments for young farmers.
Commenting on the developments, CEJA President Joris Baecke stated that: “We are pleased to hear that the Presidency believes Ministers are willing to shift on this point – we have said from the beginning that the demographic crisis in EU agriculture is simply too important to ignore. However, we are well aware that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’, but, considering the impressive progress made in the last few months, and even more so in the last few days, CEJA trusts that the institutions will find agreement by tomorrow therefore providing some foresight and longer term perspectives for farmers across Europe – especially for young farmers and young people considering entering the sector in the future.”