CAP 2014-2020

Current set-up - The currently valid reform as from 2013 again strengthened the competitiveness of the sector, gave more focus on promotion of sustainable farming and support to rural areas. To ensure those objectives, current CAP has the largest budgetary tools available among all EU policies, counting for nearly €60 billion annually. The financial tools are managed mostly through the EAGF – European Agricultural Guarantee Fund ( and EAFRD – European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (See more here).

The key targeted areas of the interventions are focusing on 3 key areas split in 2 pillars:
  • Market measures (pillar 1) – those measures represent a range of tools and measures if normal market forces fail. By nature those spending are unpredictable, but are of significant importance to cover market instability and limits the risk for the farmers and their products on the market. Those measures represent around 5% of the CAP.
  • Income support (pillar 1) – direct payments provide an important tool for farmers to stabilise their incomes (when complying with safety and environmental norms). Those payments are decoupled from the production and support the long-term viability and predictability for the farmers. Specific attention is given to the young farmers.
  • Rural development (so-called pillar 2) – provides a framework to invest in individual projects on farms or in other activities in rural areas on national and regional level. It accounts for almost 25% of CAP funding, mostly co- financed from other sources.”

Greening - "Greening" represents one of the key changes that were introduced during the last revision of the CAP for the years 2014-2020. The objective is to make direct payments system more environmentally friendly and more sustainable.

Greening supports actions to be taken by the farmers that are contributing to meet environmental and climate goals of the EU. The key reason is that the market prices do not reflect that effect. Green direct payments account for 30% of the member states´ direct payment budgets and those payments are refunded for practices that benefit the environment and the climate (e.g. diversification of crops, maintaining permanent grassland or ecological focus areas).

The key objectives of those actions are:
  • Making soil and ecosystems more resilient (greater biodiversity)
  • Conserving soil carbon and grassland habitats associated with permanent grassland
  • Protecting water and habitats by establishing ecological focus areas.

The "greening" measures are defined by the national governments with a clear guidance from the Commission and are also regularly reviewed (details available at: See more here).

Cross-compliance - The cross-compliance principle was introduced in 2003 to cover direct payments, certain rural development principles and wine sector payments. Within the 2013 reform it was enlarged and represents a link between the CAP support that farmers are receiving with a set of basic rules related to environment, public and animal health and welfare.

Simply speaking, the principle of the cross-compliance says that in order to receive payments, the farmers should respect certain basic rules. Those farmers not respecting the EU environmental, public and animal health or land management will not receive the EU support in full level. The reductions are proportional to the extent, permanence and repetition of the infringement specified.

The cross-compliance mechanism includes a number of EU Directives and Regulations - so-called “statutory management requirements” - that are applied under the agriculture legislation for pillar 1 and so-called “Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions of Land for rural development. It also means that all measures are also applicable for all farmers not receiving the EU support through CAP (See more here).

In order to help the farmers to understand the complexity of cross-compliance, the Farm Advisory System across the EU was established that will provide assistance and explanatory help to the farmers (See more here).

New revision of CAP - EU is now in the middle of the implementing period for the current CAP and the Commission is already working on the simplification and modernisation of the CAP after year 2020. The key reasons are namely:
  • The agriculture prices are falling and market uncertainty is increased. Long-term certainty must be ensured for the farmers.
  • With respect to EU external trade dimension, there is a significant move from multilateral tools to the bilateral agreements with key markets. The interest of the EU agriculture sector must be carefully balanced within those bilateral agreements.
  • The agriculture sector has to reflect and implement the global EU commitments in the area of climate change, especially taking into account the commitments made by the EU under COP21.
Before the Commission launches an official proposal to the other European institutions, the proposal will be based on thorough impact assessment. This will include all options how to simplify and modernise the CAP, present the bottlenecks of the current system and also present an overview of the stakeholders´ perspective. This should ensure that the revision of CAP reflects the key concerns of the EU farmers.

The stakeholders' consultation was launched in February 2017 and will last up to 2 May 2017 (See more here).