EU blocks bid to stall CAP greening
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has refused to postpone the introduction of controversial “greening” measures under the revised EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). The measures are due to start in 2015, and link farm subsidy payments to environmental practices, including taking some land out of production. Members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee expressed disappointment at Mr Hogan’s stance after a meeting in December. Calling the greening element a “red tape monster”, they argued that lack of clarity will cause uneven implementation of the measures across Europe. Mr Hogan agreed on the need to simplify much of the CAP, but warned against re-opening decisions made in 2013 on its revision. “We need to avoid changing the rules too often, and in particular before they have been applied at all.” He reiterated the Commission’s pledge to review the greening rules, including the requirement for farmers to create “ecologically focused areas”, after the first year of application.