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New proposals to affect agriculture across EU

The European Commission is preparing new proposals that will affect agriculture production across the EU's 27 Member States during what is called the 'CAP Health Check' to begin in 2008.

In the draft document of the Commission's plan, seen by Pig Progress, several policy plans are set out to simplify and expand upon the major overhaul of the EU's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) agreed to in 2003. One of the major aspects is the streamlining of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) to take into account all 27 Member States rather than the 15 Member States the system was designed for.

Rigid and complex
According to the draft communication, "As more sectors have in the meantime entered into the SPS and as experience has been gained in operating the system, certain implementing decisions and rules seem unnecessarily rigid and complex."

The cross-compliance requirement introduced in 2003, which requires producers receiving aid under the CAP to comply with a range of environmental standards, will also be streamlined during the 'Health Check'. "In order to remain an appropriate tool, cross-compliance needs to reflect society's demands and must strike the right balance between the costs and benefits of any requirements," the draft communication says.

Further decoupling of payments as well as further reducing the kinds and amounts of market intervention is also expected during the 'Health Check'.

New proposals linking agriculture with climate change mitigation and sustainable water use will also be introduced in the coming months.

The European Commission will unveil the communication on November 20 with legislative proposals expected in May.

Related websites:

• European Commission

• European Union

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