Status: 26.03.2021 6:13 p.m.
Funds for farmers are to be linked more closely to environmental requirements – this is the compromise that the federal and state agricultural ministers have agreed on to implement the EU agricultural reform. The farmers now fear for their income.
After hours of negotiations, the federal and state agricultural ministers were able to agree on a common position for the implementation of the EU agricultural reform. The most important points of contention have apparently been resolved.
In future, 25 percent of the direct payments to farmers are to be tied to environmental requirements. In addition, from 2023 ten percent of the direct payments are to flow into a second pot and benefit, among other things, sustainable agriculture, animal welfare and organic farming. In 2026, the percentage for the reallocation of the money in this second pillar should then be 15 percent.
The agreement on the ten percent for the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) would also correspond to the demands of Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze. Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner initially only proposed eight percent for this pot.
Agreement in the EU agricultural reform
Nadine Bader, ARD Berlin, tagesschau24 9:00 p.m., March 26, 2021
So far, promotion by area
The EU agricultural policy is a complex structure and basically divided into two areas. On the one hand, funds are paid out annually, which are summarized in the so-called direct payments. These make up the bulk of the money.
On the other hand, there is funding for rural development. These are amounts that are usually available for seven-year programs and can be used, for example, for long-term environmental measures. The money for the CAP also depends on the long-term EU budget, which was decided in December for 2021-2027. So far, funding has mainly been based on the size of the area that a farmer cultivates. That should change with the quotas that have now been agreed.
The agriculture ministers had started the special agriculture conference on Thursday evening. Until recently, it was controversial as to what proportion of the direct payments for agricultural businesses will be linked to environmental and climate protection measures in the future. The reform of the EU agricultural financing should take effect from the beginning of 2023. In total, German farmers can expect around six billion euros per year in the future.
Schulze: “Pleasing” – Farmers’ Association: “Painful”
Environment Minister Schulze, who had previously called for a higher organic quota, described the compromise as “pleasing” and “important” because it goes beyond the “inadequate environmental level of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s proposals”.
However, the German Farmers’ Association spoke of “painful cuts” due to the compromise. It is not certain that the reallocated funds will actually reach the farmers. The state farmers’ association also described the increased reallocation of funds in the second pillar, which is subject to additional requirements, as a “big toad” that Brandenburg farmers would have to swallow.
IG BAU: There is no social aspect
The union IG BAU criticized the lack of social aspect in the positioning of the countries. The nationwide around 660,000 employees in agriculture work at “sometimes extremely low wages” and harvest workers are often denied health insurance. These social questions would be “completely neglected” in the agreement.
Environmental associations criticized the proportion for the new eco-regulations as too low – this must be at least 30 percent and grow by an additional five points every year, demanded, for example, the WWF. Even Greenpeace and BUND did not go far enough to strengthen species and climate protection.