European Commission proposes measures to ease administrative burdens on farmers

22 February 2024

The European Commission sent a paper to the Belgian Presidency outlining first possible actions to help reduce the administrative burden weighing on farmers.

This document, scheduled for discussion in the agricultural Council on February 26th, suggests short- and mid-term actions to simplify procedures, building on collaborative efforts with EU member states.

These proposed actions consider inputs from national administrations, major EU farming organizations, and the European Parliament’s agricultural committee, in line with President von der Leyen’s commitment made on February 1, 2024. The current CAP delivery model, managed at the national level, already indicates progress in simplification compared to previous approaches, with Member States playing a crucial role in reducing administrative burdens for farmers.

To gather insights directly from farmers, the Commission plans to launch an online survey in March, aiming to identify primary concerns and understand administrative complexities stemming from CAP rules and other EU regulations. The survey results, expected by summer, will inform a comprehensive analysis to be published in Autumn 2024.

The Commission also proposes short- and mid-term measures to alleviate burdens for both farmers and national administrations, including simplifying conditionality requirements, streamlining checks to reduce on-farm visits, and clarifying force majeure and exceptional circumstances for farmers impacted by unforeseeable events.

Additionally, mid-term measures aim to ease burdens for smaller farmers, potentially exempting farms under 10 hectares from certain control requirements. The Commission pledges to facilitate the exchange of best practices among Member States, ensuring alignment with environmental objectives and maintaining a stable legislative framework for EU farmers under the current CAP.

In response to the agricultural sector’s crisis, the Commission has stated tha it is actively working on actions to improve farmers’ position in the food chain and protect them against unfair trading practices, to be announced shortly.