There are delays in agreeing the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 and the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This is why the European Commission has proposed transitional rules for the CAP in 2021, to carry on funding EU farmers and rural development after the expiry of the current policy in 2020 and until a new CAP comes into force. These delays will put back the potentially more ambitious EU agriculture policy by at least a year, warns the European Court of Auditors in a new opinion. This additional time should be used to address the climate and environmental challenges set out in the Green Deal, ensure robust governance of the future CAP and shore up its performance framework, say the auditors.
The Commission has proposed extending the existing legal framework and continuing financing the policy based on the amounts it has proposed for the MFF for the period after 2020. This proposed transitional regulation aims to provide certainty and continuity in the granting of support, and to smoothen the transition from the current period to the next one. The proposed transitional rules for 2021 assume that the new CAP – initially planned to start on 1 January 2021 – will be delayed by one year. The auditors analysed whether the proposed rules are legally clear and financially prudent, as well as their implications for the post-2020 CAP.
“The state-of-play of talks between the European Parliament and Council suggests that applying the new legal framework and the CAP strategic plans from 2022 could be challenging,” says Joao Figueiredo, the ECA Member responsible for the opinion. “This time gap should be used to address the issues we have raised, especially in relation to the climate and environment challenges.”