This Monday, the Twenty-seven gave the definitive green light to the review of the revision of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which will exempt small agricultural holdings, of less than 10 hectares, from controls and sanctions related to compliance with environmental requirements, to alleviate the administrative burden of the field even more.

These are regulations on the strategic plans and financing, management and monitoring of the CAP in response to the problems encountered during the first year of implementation of the new CAP.

The law will now be signed by representatives of the Council and the European Parliament before being published in the Official Journal and will come into force the day after its publication, at the end of May.

The review of the so-called ‘horizontal regulation’ will apply until the end of the current CAP period, which ends in 2027, and some of its provisions will be applied retroactively from January 1, 2024.

The main objective of these legislative proposals is to provide farmers and Member States with greater flexibility to comply with certain environmental conditionalities.

However, the Commission ensures that this will not compromise the overall level of ambition when it comes to the environmental and climate protection objectives of the EU agricultural policy.

This new show of solidarity from the EU with the sector adds to the relaxation of the environmental requirements associated with CAP aid that the Commission already announced at the end of February with the aim of appeasing the rural mobilizations in the run-up to the European elections in June.

To receive the CAP support to which they are entitled, farmers must respect an enhanced set of nine environment and climate beneficial standards known as ‘BCAM’, a principle of cross-compliance that applies to around 90% of the agricultural area used in the EU and plays an important role in the integration of sustainable agricultural practices.

According to data from the Community Executive, exempting small farmers from the requirements associated with these rules would considerably simplify the daily work of small farmers, who represent 65% of CAP beneficiaries, while maintaining environmental ambitions, since that these only cover 9.6% of the areas that receive aid from the CAP.