The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), set to start on 1 January 2023, is designed to shape the transition to a sustainable, resilient and modern European agricultural sector. Under the reformed policy, funding will be more fairly distributed among farms, with an emphasis on small- and medium-sized farms, as well as young farmers. Moreover, farmers will be supported to take up innovation, from precision farming to agro-ecological production methods. By supporting concrete actions in these and other areas, the new CAP can be the cornerstone for food security and farming communities in the European Union.
The new CAP incorporates a more efficient and effective way of working. EU countries will implement national CAP Strategic Plans, combining funding for income support, rural development and sectorial programmes. In designing its CAP Strategic Plan, each Member State chose from a wide range of interventions at EU level, tailoring and targeting them to address their specific needs and local conditions. The Commission has been assessing whether each Plan is aimed towards the ten key CAP objectives, which touch upon shared environmental, social and economic challenges. The Plans need to be in line with EU legislation and should also contribute to the EU's climate and environmental goals, as set out in the Commission's Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
The CAP will benefit from €270 billion of EU funding for the 2023-27 period.The two Plans approved today represent a total EU budget of over €2.8 billion, with €1.3 billion for Flanders and €1.5 billion for Wallonia. Out of the total EU budget of these two regions, more than €900 million will be dedicated to environmental and climate objectives and eco-schemes and €100 million to young farmers.
In the Flemish Plan, income support and security are a key priority. In addition to direct payments, farmers will receive higher support for their first 30 hectares of land. Investments to make farms more sustainable and more resilient to market shocks are also encouraged with more than 35% of Flemish farmers to receive funding. To help address the environmental challenges related to its highly intensive agricultural model, Flanders allocates €185 million, more than half of its rural development budget, to environmental and climate-related objectives, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing soil and water quality and strengthening of biodiversity. The Flemish Plan aims to increase the area under organic farming to more than 30 000 hectares. Thanks to specific support, it will also help 1 665 young farmers to set up. Finally, CAP funding will help create more than 1 700 jobs in rural areas.
The Walloon Plan will set aside higher funding for direct payments with a redistribution payment for small and medium-sized farms. Farmers growing protein crops will receive coupled support with a budget of €17 million to encourage the protein autonomy of farms in the region. To achieve its environmental objectives, Wallonia dedicates 26% of its direct payments budget to eco-schemes, and 56% of its rural development budget to interventions protecting the environment, climate and biodiversity. The agricultural area of the region under organic farming is expected to reach 18% thanks to CAP support. Rural development will focus on generational renewal, gender equality and social inclusion. The Walloon Plan will deploy funding to help 620 young farmers to set up and will organise events and a dedicated working group to increase the participation of women in agriculture.
More information on each Plan as well as the breakdown of their CAP budget is available in the “at a glance” documents.
The European Commission presented its proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform in 2018, introducing a new way of working to modernise the EU's policy on agriculture. Following extensive negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission, an agreement was reached and the new CAP was formally adopted on 2 December 2021.
The deadline set by co-legislators for Member States to submit their CAP Strategic Plan was 1 January 2022. After receiving the Plans, the Commission sent observation letters to all of the Member States by 25 May 2022. They were published on the Europa website together with the reactions of all Member States, in line with the transparency principle. A structured dialogue between the Commission services and national authorities resumed thereafter to solve remaining issues and finalise the revised CAP Plans.
Flanders and Wallonia submitted their first CAP Strategic Plan proposals on 11 and 17 March 2022 respectively, after consultations with stakeholders. They then both sent their reviewed proposals, addressing the Commission’s observations, on 18 November.
To be approved, each Plan must be complete and compatible with the legislation, and ambitious enough to deliver on the CAP objectives and EU environmental and climate commitments.
“At a glance”: insights into the CAP Strategic Plans of Belgium Flanders and Belgium Wallonia
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