Published: Tue, 19 January 2016
Irish farmers will soon be able to complete CAP application forms without fear of unintentionally incurring harsh penalties due to administrative mistakes, according to Seán Kelly MEP who has welcomed new additional CAP simplification measures as “badly needed”. Mr Kelly has further asked the European Commission to consider retroactive action to compensate those farmers who have already lost income having incurred fines due to previous incorrect completion of forms.
“These measures are important insofar as they take a load off the minds of farmers who up to now could have been said to have been playing with fire when completing CAP application forms. Now, following years of calls for it in the European Parliament, we will see a more simplified system introduced, and farmers will not live in fear of the penalties they may be subjected to for over-declaration.”
In addition to a preliminary check of aid applications which was adopted in November 2015, a simplified system of penalties – which can currently add up to more than twice the value of the over-declaration – will be introduced. On top of this, a ‘yellow card’ system for first offenders will be brought in to further reduce the penalty for simple mistakes.
The Ireland South MEP, who called for these measures to be introduced, continued: “Penalties imposed will now be reduced to 1.5 times the value of the over-declaration which is a much fairer and less off-putting threat. Additionally and crucially, the new yellow card system, which I have called for time and again in Brussels, will finally become a reality. Now, for a first offender, if the over-declaration is small, the penalty imposed will be reduced by 50 percent, which is a significant improvement on before.
“With a preliminary check combined with the yellow-card system, farmers can submit their applications without the massive fear that one simple mistake will severely hit them in the pocket.”
MEP Kelly stressed the point that some farmers had already been hit with fines due to overly strict administrative requirements: “A large amount of farmers have already lost out on income and so it would be a welcome step if retroactive action could be taken to compensate those farmers for these losses.
“I ask the Commission to explore this possibility and ensure a fair outcome for those who have suffered due to administrative complexity,” he concluded.