“In Hungary’s opinion, the proposed budget for the funding of the Common Agricultural Policy is insufficient, particularly in view of the fact that the legislative proposals published last week would place significantly greater burdens on farmers and make the currently well-operating system more complicated”, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Minister of State for Agriculture Zsolt Feldman stressed following a meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“Farmers cannot be expected to perform more in exchange for less funding, and in addition within a system of regulations that is much more complex than the current one”, the Minister of State said at the meeting. The forum, which was organised by the current Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, was the first time that EU agriculture ministers have had the opportunity to discuss the legislative proposals concerning the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that were published on 1 June.

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A significant change compared to the 2014-2020 programming period is that because of the introduction of CAP strategic plans, the regulations on the direct funding system and rural development would be regulated by a joint statute. According to the Minister of State, the new model for the distribution of funding, so-called strategic planning, is incompatible with the logic of area-based payments and could lead to a significant increase in administrative burdens for both farmers and member states. “We will be objecting to all proposals that would make the system even more complicated, in view of the fact that in recent years we have made a huge effort to simplify agricultural policy regulations and realise a farmer-friendly funding system”, the Minister of State highlighted.

“It is already clear that maintaining the current level of production-linked funding will be a difficult task with relation to several sectors, and particularly for milk and beef farmers, sheep farmers, fruit and vegetable farmers and protein crop farmers. In cooperation with the other member states affected, we will be doing everything possible in the interests of maintaining the current level of this funding type”, Mr. Feldman said.

On the initiative of the Bulgarian Agriculture Minister, who chaired the meeting, the agriculture ministers also discussed the issue of generational renewal. Mr. Feldman stressed that Hungary’s funding system already includes all possible assistance for young farmers, but it is extremely important that the Common Agricultural Policy should provide an even wider range of instruments for the support of young farmers, thus assisting the generational transition.

(Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)