In line with its budgetary proposal to limit the level of direct income support that large agricultural holdings could receive, the Commission’s original CAP reform proposals contained a mandatory cap of €300,000 on the amount of direct payments that could be paid to an individual farmer, together with provision for further cuts in payments between €150,000 and €300,000.
Ultimately, as part of the European Council's agreement on the MFF, it was agreed that capping of payments would in fact be introduced by Member States on a voluntary basis. The Irish Presidency therefore proposed amendments to the Commission text which reflected the balance of opinion among Member States that they should be allowed to decide whether to apply reductions to payments exceeding €150,000. In addition, the scale of any reductions, together with the tranches of payments to which reductions might apply, would be a matter for Member States to decide. These provisions were included in the Council General Approach agreed on 19 March.
The European Parliament position is close to that of the EU Commission and this issue will now be the subject of further negotiations between the three EU institutions in the trilogues process.