“Hungary is calling for the adoption a farmer-friendly and much simpler Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) at EU-level negotiations. This is in harmony with the joint statement by the agriculture ministers of the Visegrád Group (V4) and Croatia adopted in Budapest on 25 January”, Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas emphasised following Monday’s session of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels.

The EU’s agriculture ministers can look forward to an intensive period in view of the fact that the current Bulgarian Presidency’s goal is for ministers to adopt a joint document stating the Council’s standpoint (the so-called conclusions) on the direction for the post-2020 CAP at the Council Meeting on 19 March. Ministers are debating the statement issues by the European Commission in November of last year, which includes its proposals for the future framework of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Head of the Hungarian delegation Minister Sándor Fazekas said the level of funding available within the EU’s next multiannual financial framework to finance the Common Agricultural Policy was a key issue. He confirmed that Hungary has an interest in the continuation of traditional policies, including maintaining the current level of CAP funding, in the interests of which it is prepared to increase its contribution to the EU budget. “We reject the introduction of national co-financing in pillar 1 of the CAP”, the Hungarian Agriculture Minister stressed. In his opinion, this would mean that more affluent Western European countries would be able to provide more money to their farmers, while also reducing the level of their contribution to the common budget. “This would, on the one hand, lead to the renationalisation of the CAP, and secondly it would mean an unjustified competitive advantage for Western European farmers”, the Minister argued.

The proposal or the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework is expected to be published at the end of May, and will be voted on the European heads of government.

At the session of the Council, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan provided further details with regard to the Commission’s plans. “According to the information provided, there is a chance that on this occasion the funding system could become significantly simpler”, Mr. Fazekas said.

The most important new element of the Commission’s plan is that member states would draw up a Strategic Plan for both pillars of the CAP, which would then need to be authorised by the Commission. With relation to this, the Hungarian Agriculture Minister emphasised that, based on the information available to date, the practical realisation of this seems rather uncertain, and primarily with relation to the CAP’s pillar 1 funding (direct income support). Hungary asks, and would like the European Commission to indicate how the implementation of the new system would work, possibly through providing some exampled.  New solutions are also expected within the field of greening, and the Commission is preparing to do away with the existing regulations that have been in force since 2013 and introduce new solutions.

“I made it clear at today’s session of the Council that Hungary can only accept new regulations that are farmer-friendly and which result in a significantly simpler Common Agricultural Policy”, the Hungarian Agriculture Minister said in closing.

(Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)