The proposals for new regulations for the CAP 2021-27 were launched in June 2018 by Commissioner Hogan. The proposals, as drafted, involve significant changes, including in relation to governance, the distribution of direct payments among farmers and the increasing environmental conditionality attaching to such payments.
One important element is the new delivery model, which originally required Member States to submit their draft CAP Strategic Plan covering Pillar I and Pillar II expenditure to the Commission for approval before 1 January 2020. However, given the typically challenging nature of the discussions on the CAP and the EU Budget post-2020, there has been a delay in adopting these proposals.
As a result, the European Commission has recently published its proposals for transitional measures to allow for continuity between programming periods of 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 for CAP payments. The draft proposals provide for an additional, transitional year before starting the new CAP, which would require Member States to submit their draft CAP Strategic Plans to the Commission for approval by 1 January 2021. The proposals will be discussed by Member States over the coming months, and my officials are currently assessing their content.
I am open to working with the new delivery model and welcome the move to a more strategic, performance-based approach. However, this new framework must be based on a system which provides simplification for all.
The development of the draft CAP Strategic Plan will be a complex process, involving a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, a needs assessment, scheme design, an ex-ante evaluation including a Strategic Environmental Assessment, and an Appropriate Assessment.
A key element of the development of the Plan is regular stakeholder and public consultation. My Department has held a series of external stakeholder events, public consultations and public meetings since January 2018. In addition, in May 2019, I established a national CAP Stakeholder Consultative Committee, which meets regularly as the CAP negotiations evolve. In September, I launched a public consultation on the SWOT analysis, and as part of this process, my Department hosted a series of ‘townhall’ events in Mitchelstown, Sligo and Portlaoise, as well as a stakeholder workshop in Tullamore. The next stage of formal consultation is under consideration and its timing will be related to the progress of the discussions on the proposals.
In the meantime, my Department will continue to engage with relevant stakeholders and interest groups through existing forums and structures to update them on the progress of discussions and to hear their views.