Council conclusions on the Simplification of the Common Agriculture Policy

Council of the EU
  • 11/05/2015
  • 21:50
  • Press release
  • 261/15

The Council of the European Union

1.             RECALLING the simplification initiatives carried out previously by the Council, the contribution to simplification achieved by the "Health Check" of the Common Agriculture Policy in 2008, and the Council conclusions of 13 October 2014 on the reliability of the results of Member States' checks of agricultural expenditure (doc. 13616/14) and of 15 December 2014 on the error rate for agricultural expenditure (doc. 16798/14);

2.             WELCOMING the priority that the Commission is giving to a thorough simplification exercise and the fact that it has already proposed or will soon propose the simplification of certain Commission acts;

3.             RECALLING the commitments made by the Commission to review the provisions on greening after the first year of implementation as well as paragraph 67 of the European Council conclusions of February 2013 (doc. EUCO 37/13);

4.             STRESSING that the simplification of the CAP constitutes an objective shared by the European institutions, national administrations, stakeholders, farmers and other beneficiaries alike; and NOTING that they all have a responsibility for achieving that objective;

5.             CALLING on the Commission to continue and deepen the discussion on draft Commission acts with regard to simplification before they are adopted, since the ex-ante approach is the most effective in avoiding administrative burden;

6.             EMPHASISING that, in implementing the CAP, greater account should be taken of the subsidiarity and proportionality principles and that particular attention should be paid to:

  • making EU legislation easier to understand and to implement on the ground, therefore increasing transparency and legal certainty;
  • taking due account of specific national and regional situations;
  • reducing administrative burden and associated costs for farmers, other beneficiaries, producer organisations and national administrations;

7.             STRESSES that CAP simplification should respect the following principles:

  • preserving the policy objectives and the main elements of the reformed CAP, as well as ensuring legal stability for farmers, thus simplification would not lead to deregulation or restricted access to CAP support;
  • not jeopardising the sound financial management of EU funds;
  • focusing on areas where those implementing the CAP as well as its beneficiaries would benefit most in terms of reduced administrative burden e.g. related to information, control and reporting requirements;
  • improving the clarity of legislation and its consistency, particularly between the first and second pillars, where appropriate, as well as between basic acts, Commission acts and Commission guidelines;