Euractiv reports that the European Commission wants to make the EU’s farming subsidy programme more performance-oriented. However, non-binding targets and national leeway might hinder the Commission’s quest to keep track of results.
The new focus on results and performance is enshrined in the CAP’s nine EU-wide objectives, such as climate and environmental action, generational renewal, or increased competitiveness, which the policy is set to deliver on during the next seven years.
In practice, these goals are set to be reached via so-called national strategic plans, in which member states set out which of the EU-wide objectives they will prioritise and how they plan to attain them.
This aspect is considered as a big change from what has happened in the past, according to Alan Matthews, professor of European Agricultural Policy at the Trinity College in Dublin.
Apart from the nine CAP objectives, the Commission has also set out various sustainability targets for the agrifood sector in its flagship food policy, the Farm to Fork Strategy.
These targets include a 25 per cent target for organic agriculture by 2030, as well as reduction targets for the use of pesticides and fertilisers.
However, member states are not obliged to deliver on the Farm to Fork goals in their strategic plans, as they are not enshrined in the CAP legislation, but only mentioned in a non-binding recital.
“Concerning the 2030 goals of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, there is still an invitation to member states to actually include concrete national targets in their strategic plans,” Maria Rudolf, head of unit at the Commission’s directorate-general for agriculture, said when asked by EURACTIV.
However, she further highlighted that without a binding legal basis, this could be nothing more than an ‘invitation’ from the Commission’s part.