Today, the European Commission approved the CAP Strategic Plans of Bulgaria and Romania. 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 an emphasis on small- and medium-sized farms, as well as young farmers. Moreover, farmers will be supported to take up innovation, 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 sectorial programmes. 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, as set out in the Commission's Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
The CAP will benefit from €270 billion of EU funding for the 2023-27 period.The two Plans approved today represent a total EU budget of €20.5 billion, with €5.6 billion for Bulgaria and €14.9 billion for Romania. Out of the total EU budget of these two countries, more €5.6 billion will be dedicated to environmental and climate objectives and eco-schemes and €436 million to young farmers.
Income support is prominent in the Bulgarian Plan to reduce the income gap between farmers and workers in other sectors. To achieve a fairer distribution of support, small- and medium-sized farms will receive a redistributive payment and a cap of €100 000 will apply to larger farms. Over €600 million will be dedicated to supporting the meat, dairy and fruit and vegetables sectors, which are undergoing difficulties. In terms of environmental actions, the Plan will ensure that over 80% of arable land has a minimum soil cover in sensitive periods to improve the quality of soil. Bulgaria’s Plan also foresees specific investments to increase the area under organic farming. Rural development funding will help address the challenges of depopulation, poverty and an aging population. The Plan will support the creation of 9 413 jobs and 650 infrastructure investments in rural areas. These include the construction or reconstruction of water supply systems or the reconstruction of local roads, schools and kindergartens. More than 5 200 young farmers will also receive dedicated support to set up.
Romania’s Plan wants to improve farmers’ livelihoods and their competitiveness. In addition to income support, around €1.1 billion will be allocated to investments in farms and processing units. Among other things, this will support the development of renewable energy sources and increase the value added of agricultural products. Farms of less than 50 hectares will also receive an additional redistributive payment. Romania uses 41% of its rural development budget to encourage environmentally friendly practices in areas with high natural value to protect biodiversity. It is expected that 611 000 hectares of land will be covered by such practices. To maintain the attractiveness of rural areas in Romania, the Plan will support the creation of more than 12 000 jobs in these areas with funding for businesses and infrastructure. For example, around € 170 million will be invested in modernising communal roads in rural areas. Specific aid will be provided to young farmers so they can set up and develop their business.
More information on each Plan as well as the breakdown of their CAP budget is available in the “at a glance” documents.
The European Commission presented its proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform in 2018, introducing a new way of working to modernise the EU's policy on agriculture. Following extensive negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission, an agreement was reached and the new CAP was formally adopted on 2 December 2021.
The deadline set by co-legislators for Member States to submit their CAP Strategic Plan was 1 January 2022. After receiving the Plans, the Commission sent observation letters to all of the Member States by 25 May 2022. They were published on the Europa website together with the reactions of all Member States, in line with the transparency principle. A structured dialogue between the Commission services and national authorities resumed thereafter to solve remaining issues and finalise the revised CAP Plans.
Bulgaria and Romania submitted their first CAP Strategic Plan proposals on 25 and 28 February 2022 respectively, after consultations with stakeholders. They then sent their reviewed proposals, addressing the Commission’s observations, on 21 November for Romania and 22 November for Bulgaria.
To be approved, each Plan must be complete and compatible with the legislation, and ambitious enough to deliver on the CAP objectives and EU environmental and climate commitments.