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The new Common Agricultural Policy and the Strategic Plans: new keys to accessing support

| News | Agrifood

Against the backdrop of the new CAP, Andersen has organised the webinar "2023-2027CAP Agreement: new rules and developments in agricultural policy and its application in Spain", a meeting with Gregorio Dávila to understand the new developments in this area

The arrival of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is drawing ever closer. With the approval of the provisional agreement on the CAP's operating rules, which took place on 28th June with the European Parliament and the Member States, the way has been cleared for the different countries involved to finalise their Strategic Plans, which must be submitted to the European Commission for approval before the end of 2021. The relevance of these Plans lies in the fact that they will establish the details of the aid to be received, from the beneficiaries to the areas, sectors or elements to be highlighted.

Based on this scenario, Andersen's Agri-Food area organised the event "2023-2027 CAP Agreement: new rules and developments on agricultural policy and its application in Spain", a meeting that included Gregorio Dávila, Deputy Head of Unit of the Rural Development Unit of the European Commission, as well as José Miguel Soriano, Andersen Partner, and Rafael Ripoll, Of Counsel of the firm.

The event was presented by José Miguel Soriano, who is part of Andersen's Agri-Food area, which in recent years has experienced great growth because of the changes in the sector, the regulation of which allows "the possibilities for collaboration with clients to be immense", he explained. At the firm, he continued, "we are working on the Chain Law or NutriScore, the repercussion of price rises on consumers, the review of international treaties between third countries and how they affect national or EU products".

Along these lines, José Miguel Soriano stressed the importance of talking about the CAP, "which has a budget of more than 386.6 billion, of which 47 billion euros will be allocated to Spain and brings many new features, with approximately 47% allocated to agriculture and livestock farming in line with climate change".

Rafael Ripoll oversaw the introduction ofGregorio Dávila, highlighting his enormous expertise in the areas of rural development and agricultural policies, being someone who "has lived through the development of the Common Agricultural Policy and is knowledgeable about how it is now intended to be implemented". Some of the key points, such as the prescribed cut and the implementation of the eco-schemes, Ripoll explained, "have provoked an important debate in Spain" and, he added, this meeting with Dávila allows us "to shed more light on how the European institutions intend to implement this very important Community agricultural policy".

For Gregorio Dávila, this type of event allows us to explain the current state of the CAP and how the negotiations are progressing on a regulation that will be applied for the next seven years, and which has very important funds for European development.

According to Dávila, "the new regulation is strongly inspired by rural development, in fields such as the response to needs, the logic of intervention, its strategy... this inspiration is what has been used to programme the CAP, and it is probably what is most revolutionary, a revolution that comes from the hand of governance".

In general terms, the DG AGRI representative explained how the CAP of the future is going to have to respond much more to local needs, and this is what is impacting on the drawing up of the Strategic Plans. "Temporarily, we are now in the agreement, which arrived at the end of June, and which has not yet been approved by the Parliament", Dávila specified, while pointing out that "these are very complicated times, because all the secondary legislation still has to be approved, which has to come just after the adoption of the Regulation, which puts us in a complicated situation because the Plans cannot be delivered until the secondary legislation has been approved". "We are preparing all the regulations and we are discussing their content with the Member States," he said.

There have been various elements that have had an impact on the development of the CAP, since the start of the proposal in June 2018: elections in the European Parliament, the approval of the Green Pact or Covid-19 and the pandemic have caused changes and delays as well as modifications that have conditioned the outcome of the CAP reform and the way in which aid is going to be disbursed by the Member States.


Member States' Strategic Plans are due by the end of this year, at which point the Commission will have one year to approve them, so that by 1st January 2023 the new funds and the Strategic Plan will be in place, and the new CAP will be in place.

As part of this panorama, he highlighted the fundamental role of the agricultural sector, which, with 156 million hectares of agricultural land, 40 million jobs in the sector and 45 million consumers, makes it an important sector for which a policy such as the CAP continues to be fundamental.

On the reasons behind the reform and the advent of the new CAP, Dávila outlined a wide range of factors, including: income; climate-related events; pressure on the environment from surplus nitrogen in the soil; the age of the sector and generational renewal; reinforcement of the added value of primary producers in the food chain; growing social demands such as getting more for the money that exists or rules with closer links to local realities; more coherence with other objectives to be integrated in global strategy; the objectives of the Green Pact and strategies such as "Farm to Fork" and "Biodiversity"; technical elements such as the consumption of antibiotics in animal production; nitrate concentrations in groundwater; the evolution of pesticides and the absence of reliable measurement indicators; the stimulation of organic farming; or broadband coverage to bring it to rural areas. "All these elements will be taken into account when discussing the adoption of the Plan with Member States," he said during his presentation.

This information will mobilise a new CAP which, although it will have a smaller budget than the one that used to be allocated in the 80s and 90s (which amounted to more than 70% of the funds), is still very important, "constituting almost 30% of the EU budget", according to Dávila.

Monitoring and performance system

According to the expert, for the CAP Strategic Plan, the first thing is the objectives. "For the first time, the CAP is going to have common objectives that articulate the reform," he said, explaining that there are three dimensions: economic, environmental and social sustainability, and each one has objectives, such as gender equality. These objectives have a series of common indicators that will measure their fulfilment, with annual evaluations and tools for correction if they are not met. For Dávila, "this is the monitoring and performance system that will accompany the CAP of the future".

Among the most important elements of the new CAP is the fairer distribution of aid, which includes key elements such as a new definition of active farmer and obligations to analyse redistribution needs. One of the priorities was a better distribution of funds, to avoid 80% of funds going to 20% of farmers, so "to correct this situation, a redistribution package has been included which we hope will have an impact on the distribution of funds", Gregorio Dávila specified.

Among the new priorities and innovations are also attracting young and new farmers, with a specific allocation, and the relevance of social conditionality. Along with this, the green architecture stands out, which has resulted in reinforced cross-compliance, incorporating the elements of compulsory Greening. Dávila pointed out that this reinforced conditionality includes two instruments: eco-schemes and second pillar measures (payments to areas with natural limitations or forestry measures, among others). Likewise, the new CAP will also be more ecological, with ecological schemes accounting for 25% of the direct payment budget.

As a new feature, the sectoral interventions are integrated into the Strategic Plan, "which will allow them to serve the specific objectives and the necessary complementarity and coordination of the Plan in a more coherent way in order to meet the objectives of the CAP", commented Gregorio Dávila.

In terms of innovation, one of the elements to be highlighted is the transfer of knowledge, framed in line with the objective of transformation, an innovation that, according to the speaker, farms will have to make from an environmental point of view (for example, the reduction of pesticides, antibiotics...).

For Gregorio Dávila, there is going to be a new way of working, with each of the 27 Member States, with its own strategic plan: "we are going to work in a different way, assessing needs, contributing in a common way to shared objectives, etc. This is a revolution", in which the participation of civil society, NGOs, among others, has also been strengthened, following the timetable for the new implementation of the CAP so that the new application of the CAP will be a reality in 2023".

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