Published: Tue, 17 November 2015
MEP for Ireland South, Seán Kelly, has welcomed the announcement of further CAP simplification measures this week. Mr Kelly, the leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, previously called for simplification measures to be introduced and today told colleagues in Brussels that he is pleased that serious steps are now being taken in this regard.
“The measures taken by the European Commission towards simplification are encouraging and I am pleased with the level of cooperation we have had since the beginning of its mandate last year.
“Farmers must be at the centre of policy planning. I have worked to ensure that farmers are not overburdened by complex administrative procedures in the CAP for years. I appreciate this Commission’s commitment to bringing forward changes as soon as possible,” he said.
The Commission has announced that the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) will be simplified to allow national administrations to identify problems with farmers’ applications so that even up to 35 days after the submission, farmers will be allowed to make corrections, something Kelly identified as a key element for the whole process:
“The IACS simplification announcement will be music to the ears of our farmers who for too long have had to complete forms and applications with great apprehension and uncertainty about possible fines and disallowances. The preliminary check will eliminate this risk and lessen the burden on farmers.
The MEP also welcomed additional measures to improve IACS such as the reduction of on-the-spot checks for 2016, increasing the efficiency of the selection of samples in order to remove unnecessary and repeat inspections, and a provision to allow farmers to modify their declaration regarding the use of agricultural parcels for the purpose of greening.
“Farmers are currently very much overburdened with a 5% on-the-spot check rate while overall error rates are below 2%. The reduction of these checks will significantly reduce the hassle that farmers are put through.
“In addition to this, I am pleased that Commissioner Hogan has proposed to improve the approach to collecting samples – it is clear that a large proportion of these checks are unnecessary and limiting them to what is needed is a more than welcome step.”
Kelly, who will represent the European Parliament at December’s COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris, also welcomed a proposed new system of collective claims under the second pillar to bring a more results-oriented focus:
“As we near the finalisation of the Paris Agreement, it is important to ensure that the role of agriculture and the possibilities for emission mitigation is understood. Allowing farmers to come together to deliver climate action more effectively and efficiently is important and shows the agriculture sector’s commitment to do its fair share. We must respond to that level of commitment by ensuring a fair deal for farmers in Paris”, he concluded.