Today, the European Commission approved the CAP strategic plans for Croatia, Slovenia and Sweden. The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), set to start on 1 January 2023, is designed to shape the transition to a sustainable, resilient and modern European agricultural sector. Under the reformed policy, funding will be more fairly distributed among farms, with emphasis on small and medium-sized family farms, as well as young farmers. Moreover, farmers will be supported to take up new innovations, from precision farming to agro-ecological production methods. By supporting concrete actions in these and other areas, the new CAP can be the cornerstone for food security and farming communities in the European Union.
The new CAP incorporates a more efficient and effective way of working. EU countries will implement national CAP Strategic Plans, combining funding for income support, rural development and market measures. In designing its CAP Strategic Plan, each Member State chose from a wide range of interventions at EU level, tailoring and targeting them to address their specific needs and local conditions. The Commission has been assessing whether each Plan is aimed towards the ten key CAP objectives, which touch upon shared environmental, social and economic challenges. The Plans need to be in line with EU legislation and should also contribute to the EU's climate and environmental goals, including on animal welfare, as set out in the Commission's Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
The CAP will benefit from €270 billion in funding for the 2023-27 period. The three Plans approved today represent a budget of close to €9 billion, including €2.7 billion dedicated to environmental and climate objectives and eco-schemes, and €227 million for young farmers. All three Plans have a strong environmental dimension. Slovenia and Sweden have allocated nearly 60% of their rural development budget to environmental and climate objectives. Slovenian’s Plan will support, among other things, the production of renewable energy from agriculture, enabling farmers to invest in biogas, biomethane and geothermal wells for their own needs. The Croatian Plan decided to address the agricultural emissions that are mainly stemming from soil and manure management while the Swedish Plan puts a strong focus on carbon sequestration, biodiversity and valuable grasslands, as well as increasing knowledge about sustainable production. Thanks to CAP funding, organic farming will be supported to cover 17%, 14% and 12% of agricultural land in Slovenia, Sweden and Croatia respectively.
In Croatia, a fairer redistribution of support will be achieved by redistributing 20% of the CAP’s direct payments envelope to small and medium farmers for their first 30 hectares of agricultural land. To encourage young people to undertake agricultural activities, specific incentives will be given to more than 1 000 Croatian farmers under the age of 40, to help them set up their agricultural holdings and sustain the initial costs of their investments. Rural development funds will support the creation of 14 000 jobs in rural areas, as well as several infrastructure investments, such as water, local roads and kindergartens.
The redistributive payment will also be applied in Slovenia to shift part of the budget from larger to smaller agricultural holdings. To complement direct payments, €98 million will be used to support around 25 000 farmers in sectors currently facing difficulties, such as extensive animal husbandry and protein crops for feed and food. Around 800 Slovenian beekeepers will also receive specific aid to maintain or convert to organic beekeeping. Rural development funds will support small-scale investments with high value added to rural areas, such as setting-up local markets and renovating facilities for the sale of local produce.
Sweden will allocate €806 million for farmers to continue sustainable agricultural practices in areas where conditions for farming are challenging, such as mountains, forest-dominated areas or northern areas. Young farmers in Sweden will be able to apply for start-up aids and to receive complementary income support to help them in the initial years after launching their agricultural businesses. Thanks to specific training, around 30 000 persons are also expected to gain new skills related to environmental or climate-related performance, such as decreasing health risks for users of plant protection products, improving energy efficiency and production or use of renewable energy.
More information on each Plan as well as the breakdown of their CAP budget is available in the “at a glance” documents.