Green light for the new Common Agricultural Policy

15 December 2022

The approval of all 28 Strategic Plans (one for each EU country and two for Belgium) by the European Commission marks the start of the new Common Agricultural Policy, scheduled on 1 January 2023.

A press release explains that €264 billion of EU funding will support European farmers in the transition towards a sustainable and resilient agricultural sector, and help preserve the vitality and the diversity of the rural areas. Co-financing and complementary national financing will bring the total public budget dedicated to farmers and rural communities to €307 billion for the 2023-2027 period. Other programmes falling within the remit of the CAP but outside the CAP Strategic Plans, such as the POSEI programme for outermost regions, the EU school schemepromotion programmes, will benefit from an additional EU funding of €6 billion.

A greener CAP

Three out of ten of the CAP’s specific objectives directly concern the environment and climate. Thanks to the “no backsliding” clause, Member States are required to demonstrate higher ambitions in their CAP Plans compared with the current situation. This results in the most ambitious CAP ever from an environmental and climate perspective.

  • In the CAP Strategic Plans, close to €98 billion, corresponding to 32% of the total CAP funding (EU and co-financing) will be devoted to delivering benefits for the climate, water, soil, air, biodiversity and animal welfare, and to encourage practices beyond the mandatory conditionality. If we look at the breakdown of this amount across instruments and funds, 24% of direct payments are dedicated to eco-schemes and 48% of rural development spending from all plans will fully support environmental and climate objectives.
  • The Plans will incentivise land managers to store carbon in soil and biomass, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help with adaptation in 35% of the EU’s agricultural area through appropriate management practices, such as extensive grassland management, growing of leguminous and catch-crops, organic fertilisation or agroforestry.
  • Based on new obligations for farmer, crop rotation is expected on around 85% of the EU CAP-supported arable land. This will help disrupt pest and disease cycles and thus reduce the use and risk of pesticides. To go further, more than 26% of EU agricultural land will receive support for, among other things, adopting integrated pest management and using non–chemical methods for pest control or precision farming.
  • The CAP support for organic production in 2027 will almost double compared to the area funded in 2018. This will be a major contributor to reaching Member States’ national ambitions for increasing the organic area that range from 5 to 30% in 2030.
  • Planned investments in renewable energy production on farms will add 1.556 MW to the EU’s energy production capacity.

The new PAC also aims to be fairer and more socially inclusive. All Strategic plans support viable farm income and resilience of the agricultural sector as a key objective. Besides, as EU’s rural areas face several challenges, including depopulation, access to and improvement of basic services, opportunities for employment and need for better connectivity, the CAP will invest in the social and economic fabric of EU rural areas.

You can read more on the official press release here.