"The proposal on greening is essential for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The Council widely support the green ambitions, but today’s debate showed concerns about increasing red tape, and we need to take natural differences into consideration," says the Chair, Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Mette Gjerskov.
The Commission’s proposal on greening suggests that 30 per cent of direct payments to farmers will be dependent on the farmers complying with requirements that ensure a greener production with in-creased consideration to the environment, climate and the nature. Recently the Commission has put forward a concept paper in the light of ideas and wishes from the Member States.
At today’s meeting the EU agricultural Ministers presented a number of changes in the Commission’s proposals on greening e.g.:
- Expanding the scope of ‘green by definition’ to not only include organically cultivated farm-land but also farmland cultivated according to certain environmental certification schemes.
- Raising the threshold for crop diversification from 3 hectares to 10 hectares or more, and that exemption from this requirement should also include ecological focus areas.
- Adjusting the seven per cent requirement for farm land that should be reserved for ecological focus areas so that more areas environmentally practices for the Rural Programme may be included, and that the requirements be aimed a region rather than individual farms.
After today’s discussion in the Council the Danish Presidency will continue working with the proposal for greening to be discussed by the relevant expert bodies. The Danish Presidency aims to present a progress report on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy on the Council meeting on 18 June.