My Department officials have previously consulted with the European Commission on the possibility of including the group of young farmers known as the forgotten farmers under the ‘specific disadvantage’ category of the 2017 National Reserve, which was established using the funding derived from a linear cut to the value of all farmers’ payment entitlements.
Prior to the Omnibus Regulation (2393/2017) coming into effect on 1 January 2018, the European Commission confirmed that Member States could not use the proceeds of a linear cut to fund a specific disadvantaged category through the National Reserve. The only funding option was the natural replenishment of the Reserve, such as from unused entitlements or the proceeds of clawback, and then only after the two priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ had been catered for.
The introduction of the Omnibus Regulation allowed for the possibility to include ‘specific disadvantage’ categories into the National Reserve from the proceeds of a linear cut, but only if a linear cut is required to fund the two priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant’ in that particular year. As there has been sufficient funding available in the National Reserve from natural replenishment of the fund to cater for the two priority categories since then, the issue of a linear cut has not arisen.
To apply a linear cut to fund the National Reserve would involve a cut to the value of all farmers’ payment entitlements. Such a decision would need to be made in consultation with the Direct Payments Advisory Committee, made up of representatives of the main farming bodies and agricultural advisory services.
Discussions on the CAP post-2020 proposals are still ongoing at Council. Once agreed at Council level, the proposals will then be subject to trilogue discussions with the European Parliament and European Commission before they can be adopted and come into effect. The position regarding the National Reserve in the next programming period cannot be confirmed until such time as the regulatory provisions for the CAP post-2020 are agreed and in place.