Ambitious plans of Commissioner Phil Hogan
Reduction of bureaucratic procedures is one of the chief tasks for the European Union in the next few years’ time. Farmers, who benefit from the Common Agricultural Policy, are among those who feel the negative consequences of the excessive size of EU administration. The new Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has therefore promised changes for the better and the improvement of efficiency of the work of EU staff.
An important sector in need of important modernization
Agriculture is currently the fourth largest sector of the EU economy. In the past 5 years, the value of agricultural goods sold outside Europe has risen by 70%. What is more, farmland takes up 50% of the area of EU countries, and provides home and employment for 25 million farmers, who the modifications of the Common Agricultural Policy concern directly. On the one hand, farmers benefit from CAP subsidies, on the other hand, they face the challenges created by the mechanism. The primary challenge is that of overcoming bureaucratic obstacles.
A new perspective
Commissioner Phil Hogan has indicated new opportunities for gaining funds for rural development in the new EU financial framework. He has also spoken about the priorities of his time in office. One of those is the simplification of the mechanisms of support for the farmers. This shall bring tangible benefits such as limiting the cost of operation, and reinvigorating the competitive spirit. New jobs might appear in the agricultural sector as a result. The Commissioner has clearly stated that the reduction of bureaucracy is a long-term process. If it is implemented consistently, it will bring measurable results. The process is going to be facilitated by…
…two rules that make a difference
The first principle is avoiding too frequent changes of regulations. Farmers need stability, so that they are free to cope with more serious challenges, such as unpredictable weather conditions. Reducing the number of modifications of procedures to those which might be implemented within current policies will remove some of the problems for CAP beneficiaries, as well as the local administrators of the program, who follow the standards common in the whole EU.
The second rule is aiming at simplification of the functioning of the programs of agriculture development by all the institutions involved, on the EU, national and regional level. Dialog with farmers, other beneficiaries and stakeholders, needs to be initiated. Hearing out about various experiences concerning the implementation of Common Agricultural Policy will provide valuable feedback for all the institutions in charge. As a result, it might become possible to adjust the principles of particular programs to the needs of the entities and persons who benefit directly.