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The agri-food sector faces new innovation and sustainability challenges in accessing CAP funds

| News | Agrifood

Andersen organised a webinar with European Commission agriculture representatives to discuss the CAP reform

The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which Brussels is negotiating for the period 2023-2027, will oblige all players in the agri-food sector to make a firm commitment to innovation and sustainability to access the funds it provides for, which amount to 390,000 million euros, of which 47.7 million euros will be earmarked for Spain.

This was made clear during the conference organised by Andersen, in collaboration with the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE), in which representatives of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, Gregorio Dávila, took part, Deputy Head of the Rural Development Unit, and Miguel García, Deputy Head of the Wine, Fruit and Vegetable Unit, together with Ignacio Aparicio, managing partner of the Andersen Corporate Area, Rafael Ripoll, of counsel in the firm's EU Law area, and Ignacio López, Director of International Relations at Asaja.

During his speech, Ignacio Aparicio stressed that the new CAP gives priority to innovation, the digitalisation of the entire food chain and the sustainability of production. He said that these are "objectives that the European Commission has set itself in all its policies and that, by committing to this type of project, the agents in the sector will also be able to benefit from new European funds such as those envisaged in the 'Next Generation EU' Recovery Plan for Europe".

For his part, Gregorio Dávila recalled that the negotiation process is open and indicated that the CAP is awaiting the tripartite dialogues, which are technical and political meetings that will last until April 2021 to continue with the presentation of the plans to the Commission at the end of the year, which will be approved in 2022. He highlighted the "green architecture" of the regulation and, as a fundamental proposal, the minimum reserve in the budget for the so-called "ecoschemes" or complementary climate measures, which, although it has yet to be determined, the Council proposes to set at 20% and the Parliament at 30% of the funds.

Mr Davila pointed out other issues which are also on the table in the negotiations on the rules of the new CAP, such as conditionality, that is, the obligations which any beneficiary must fulfil and which has integrated all the requirements of the green pact, the weight of the genuine farmer, coupled aid or support for young people and small farms, as well as the inclusion of measures for the management of climate risks by the States, which the European Council has proposed should be voluntary.

Miguel García said that Community leaders had shown interest in extending the model of support for fruit and vegetable producer organisations to other sectors such as animal production, arable crops or cereals. He explained that these sectoral programmes could be financed by deducting up to 3% from direct payments.

Finally, the Director of International Relations for Asaja said that the agri-food sector is "vital and dynamic" and recalled that in Spain there are 30,000 agri-food industries and 900,000 farms, and he therefore welcomed the change in governance by transferring part of the European Commission's decision-making to the States.

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