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GAEC derogations, in particular regarding GAEC8 (EU) 2024/587

Question écrite de M. Martin HÄUSLING - Commission européenne

Question de M. Martin HÄUSLING,

Diffusée le 28 février 2024

Subject: GAEC derogations, in particular regarding GAEC8 (EU) 2024/587

At the Agriculture and Fisheries (AGRIFISH) Council meeting on 20 November 2023 Commissioner Wojciechowski argued that further derogations from GAEC8 (good agricultural and environmental conditions of land standard 8) may not be in the interest of farmers, including ‘prices’ for farmers. In Implementing Regulation 2024/5871, the Commission reports that ‘an important number of extreme meteorological events ... affect output and revenue’ and claims that application of GAEC8 in ‘certain cases can have a significant short-term impact on their revenue and put at risk the viability of their activities’.

1. What evidence does the Commission have that the derogation will improve the livelihoods of farmers, and in what way does the derogation address the issue of extreme meteorological events affecting outputs, with these being extremely likely to be repeated in the future?

2. Do the various GAEC derogations granted thus far threaten the compliance with Regulation (EU) 2021/21152Article 6(1)(f), and in the light of Regulation (EU) 2024/587 Article 3(1), why has the Commission chosen to waive its scrutiny power and how can it ensure that the Union budget spent under the CAP Strategic Plans actually contributes to the achievement of the specific objective referred to in Article 6(1)(f) of Regulation (EU) 2021/2115?

3. What impact do have the various GAEC derogations granted thus far have on biodiversity spending under the current multiannual financial framework?

Submitted:29.2.2024

1 OJ L, 2024/587, 13.02.2024, ELI: http://data.europa.eu/eli/reg_impl/2024/587/oj.

2 OJ L 435, 6.12.2021, p. 1.

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 7 avril 2024

Answer given by Mr Wojciechowski on behalf of the European Commission (8 April 2024)

Farmers must respect good agricultural and environmental conditions (GAEC) in order to obtain Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) area payments in full.

A requirement to devote arable land to non-productive areas and features may entail a significant financial burden for farmers due to the loss of revenue from such non-productive areas. This is problematic in the context of other simultaneous adverse events, such as extreme weather events or significant market disturbances.

Implementing Regulation (EU) 2024/587 (3) nonetheless requires that a share of arable land be devoted to crops which are beneficial for the environment (4).

The protection of landscape features under GAEC 8 (5), other GAEC standards and the other elements of the green architecture remain in place, ensuring contribution to the biodiversity objective.

The possibility to apply amendments to eco-schemes ahead of their approval by the Commission serves only to ensure that the eco-schemes in the approved CAP Strategic Plans may be adjusted quickly to make them compatible with the partial derogation from GAEC 8 so that farmers may still benefit from such eco-schemes in 2024. However, these amendments remain subject to subsequent Commission approval.

The biodiversity tracking methodology considers a limited contribution to the biodiversity objectives from GAECs (4% (6)). The ambition to reach 7.5% of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) (7) spending on biodiversity is reached for 2024 despite the reduction due to the derogation from GAEC 8, first requirement, in 2023 (2% instead of 4%). The CAP is the MFF fund with biggest contribution to biodiversity.

1 ∙ ⸱ OJ L, 2024/587, 13.02.2024, ELI: http://data.europa.eu/eli/reg_impl/2024/587/oj.

2 ∙ ⸱ OJ L 435, 6.12.2021, p. 1.

3 ∙ ⸱ Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2024/587 of 12 February 2024 providing for a derogation from Regulation (EU) 2021/2115 of the European

Parliament and of the Council as regards the application of the standard for good agricultural and environmental conditions of land (GAEC standard) 8, dates of eligibility of expenditure for contribution from the EAGF and rules concerning amendments of CAP Strategic Plans for modifications of certain eco- schemes for claim year 2024, OJ L, 2024/587, 13.2.2024. 4 ∙ ⸱

Nitrogen fixing crops and catch crops. 5 ∙ ⸱

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32022R1317 6 ∙ ⸱ 4% of direct payments other than eco-schemes are tracked as biodiversity expenditures under the Commission’s methodology https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/pdf/Biodiversity_tracking_methodology_for_each_programme_2023.pdf 7 ∙ ⸱ https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/eu-budget/long-term-eu-budget/2021-2027_en













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