The budget for the Common Agricultural Policy is set to steadily decline between 2014 and 2020, the European Commission has revealed.
Commissioners have proposed to maintain CAP spending at 2013 levels for the next seven years, meaning €371.7bn will be available for agriculture.
Direct payments (Pillar 1 support) will account for €281.8bn of that figure, while €89.9bn will be available for Pillar 2 measures such as stewardship.
Despite freezing the budget, in real terms the proposals mean there will be a reduction in the budget over the period, with the commission factoring in a 2% default deflation rate.
That means the annual budget for direct payments will gradually decline from €43bn in 2013 down to €38bn in 2020.
The CAP budget was revealed on Wednesday evening (29 June) after the commission spent the day thrashing out details of the EU’s budget for the 2014-2020 spending period.
The 25-page document sets out plans to maintain the framework of Pillar 2 and says farm policy design “will be comprehensively modernised and simplified so as to deliver a
fairer, greener policy”.
While the proposals say the commission will have to allow “flexibility” between the two pillars to respond to “social, economic and environmental challenges”, it does not go into detail as to how that would be achieved.
European farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos said the decision to maintain current budgets meant agriculture would be able to address the challenges of food security, preserving natural resources and developing rural areas.
“This is a good result for the future CAP in the current economic climate,” he said. “It is a budget that will allow us to carry out a substantial reform of the CAP.
“Indeed, [the] document already sets certain aspects of the reform, relating to greening, capping, active farmers, more equitable payment allocations, a small farmers scheme and a results-based rural development programme.”