The European Commission's proposals for the post-2020 CAP commit to a more significant environmental ambition than the current CAP schemes. It is proposed that EU payments will be subject to a common baseline of conditionality with a number of requirements for good agriculture and environmental conditions for land. In Pillar I, an eco scheme, which would be mandatory for Member States to offer, but voluntary for farmers, is provided for. I support the provision of eco schemes. However, at this stage, it is too early to say how such a scheme, or other environmental schemes, might be configured.
The Commission proposals require 40% of the total CAP budget, at EU level, to be dedicated to environmental and climate actions. Member States must ensure that 30% of Pillar II funding - excluding funding for Areas of Natural Constraint - will be devoted to the environment and climate change.
I firmly support the principle that there must be a high level of environmental ambition in the CAP post-2020. I believe that the economic development of the agri-food sector goes hand-in-hand with the need for environmental sustainability. However, it is essential that the proposed new environmental conditionality is implemented effectively, with common standards that are relevant and effective. It is also important that the overall level of the budget acknowledges the public goods being delivered by farmers.
My key priority remains to continue to press for agreement on the CAP reform proposals and on the maintenance of the CAP budget as part of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework for the post-2020 period. I will continue to work at building consensus among my agriculture colleagues in Europe in this regard.