To deliver secure supplies of high-quality food while protecting the environment better, the new EU farm policy must make "greening" measures mandatory but flexible and help farmers to cope with market challenges. So says Parliament's position for negotiations with member states as voted on Wednesday 13 March. This will be the first EU farm policy reform shaped by Parliament as a full co-legislator with member states.
- Fairer and transparent funding for working farmers: differences among EU member states in the levels of EU funding for farmers should be reduced slightly faster than the European Commission proposed. No member state's farmers should receive less than 65% of the EU average.
- More money for young and small farmers: young farmers should get a 25% top-up payments for a maximum of 100 ha and member states could also use more money to support small farmers.
- More flexible greening: MEPs agree that 30% of national budgets for direct payments should be made conditional upon compliance with mandatory greening measures, but stress that these measures must be made more flexible and gradual.
- Empowering farmers to cope with crises: to help farmers cope with market volatility and strengthen their price bargaining position, their organisations should be given new tools and allowed to negotiate input and delivery contracts, say MEPs.
- Less bureaucratic spending controls: MEPs stress the need to cut red tape and ensure that penalties for breaching rules are proportionate.
Results of the vote
The draft mandate for negotiations with member states on the future direct payments rules was approved by 427 votes to 224, with 32 abstentions.
The draft mandate for negotiations with member states on the future rural development rules was approved by 556 votes to 95, with 18 abstentions.
The draft mandate for negotiations with member states on future common market organisation was approved by 375 votes to 277, with 24 abstentions.
The draft mandate for negotiations with member states on financing, management and monitoring rules was approved by 474 votes to 172, with 23 abstentions.
Wednesday March 13, 2013/ European Parliament/ European Union.