European Commission presents ideas to lessen administrative pressure on farmers

In a note to the Belgian EU presidency on Thursday, the European Commission proposed several ideas to reduce the administrative burden on farmers. The Commission's proposals include converting less arable land to pasture in the short term and reducing the number of visits to farms by national authorities by up to 50 percent.

Against the backdrop of protests by farmers in several Member States, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced at the European Council on 1 February that her Commission would present proposals to simplify administrative procedures.

For example, the Commission wants to ensure that farmers receive up to 50 per cent fewer administrative visits by improving the area monitoring system. The new method will give farmers more time to concentrate on their core business, the Commission said.

Exemptions for small farmers

The Commission also wants to ensure that farmers with reduced livestock production do not have to convert arable land back to pasture. And small farms of less than 10 hectares could be exempted from checks on the basic conditions of European policy. They make up 65 per cent of beneficiaries but cover only 9.6 per cent of the eligible area, the paper argues.

The note will now be presented to European agriculture ministers, who will meet in Brussels on 26 February.

It remains to be seen whether these proposals will satisfy European farmers. Protests continue in several countries across the continent. In Belgium, farmers' organisations announced a new protest in Brussels on Monday.



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