K.Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture: The environmental requirements in agriculture must comply with CAP funding
On Monday, July 15, Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture, will participate in the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries in Brussels, in the ongoing discussion of Ministers on the conditions, regulating the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from 2021 to 2027. There will be sharing of opinions at the meeting on one of the most essential bloc of CAP conditions, associated with laying down of higher environmental and climate requirements for farmers.
According to the existing conditions, farmers have already been complying with a sizeable totality of mandatory environmental and climate requirements. An obligation to comply with new requirements will entail higher costs for farmers. As the funding earmarked by the European Commission considerably differs between Member States, Latvia considers that the CAP requirements in the sphere of the environment and climate must be commensurate to the funding allocated to each Member State, namely, measures should be sufficiently balanced against CAP support to avoid undermining of viability and competitiveness of farmers on the Single market.
Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture: “Latvia has been placed in an unequal situation for a long time, receiving the lowest level of direct payments. Therefore, it is important to take into account the fact that these new requirements will have an impact on the competitiveness of our farmers and their ability to compete with farmers of other States, enjoying more generous EU support. Latvia can assume only such commitments, which are possible to fulfil in reality. Therefore, our major condition is – the environmental and climate requirements must comply with the allocated CAP funding!”
The Minister for Agriculture also points out that for years 2021-2027, COM places too much emphasis on several mandatory requirements. It must be highlighted that strengthening of the basic mandatory requirements is not a step toward simplification of conditions, besides it creates an additional burden for both farmers and administration. Some of the conditions offered by COM are too stringent and complicated in terms of application - they do not provide sufficiently flexible opportunities for Member States.
Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture: “Currently farmers have already been meeting a considerable amount of requirements in spite of a low level of support mechanisms for their implementation. Thus, introduction of additional requirements will not yield a desirable result. Member States must be given the possibility to make their own well-weighted decision as to which measures will yield the best results. This is the most effective way for Member States to achieve the set objectives.”
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