Farmers protest at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture in Madrid, this Wednesday.Isabel Infantes / Europa Press
The Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, and the councilors of the branch of the autonomous communities have not achieved any point of compromise and have only agreed at the meeting this Wednesday to continue negotiating for the preparation, before the end of the year, of a Strategic Plan where to locate the more than 47,000 million euros that Spain will receive from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the period from 2023 to 2027. As expected, the sectoral conference has highlighted the existence of important differences, both between the communities as in relation to the document prepared by the Government. In this context, there has been no agreement. However, the conference has given the green light to the Agriculture document, but only as a basis for further discussions. The ministry will also continue negotiations with agrarian organizations.
Planas has recognized the existence of important differences between the positions of the different regional governments given the great diversity of agriculture in each territory and has praised the consensus spirit of the councilors. Along these lines, technical negotiations will continue from next week with an eye to a new and definitive sectoral conference in the autumn, which should serve to have the plan ready and present it to Brussels before the end of the year. The minister also highlighted in statements to the media, at the end of the meeting, the need to go to a CAP with a fairer, more social and sustainable distribution where there will be greater support for young people and women.
Three of the most important axes of the debates, based on the official proposal, have been the eco-schemes or voluntary environmental complementary measures that the agricultural sector can carry out to receive more funds, the convergence processes of payments in the same region for a farmer to charge the same as another for the same activity and what will be the group of priority aid applicants to collect the aid.
For the eco-schemes, the official proposal is to allocate 25% of the funds, 23% from direct payments and 2% from the environmental measures of the rural development funds. The convergence policy will also negotiate on the proposal to lower the current payment regions from 50 to 20, compared to the position of different communities that demand a higher reduction. Agriculture contemplates that the convergence of aid in the same region reaches 85% in 2027, to reach 100% in 2029 as a previous step to eliminating the current historical individual payment rights.
Regarding payments as direct aid linked to production, they will be 12.4% of the funds, plus 1.95% only for protein crops. Recipients must be affiliated with the Special System of Agrarian Self-Employed Workers or that a significant part of their total income, at least 25%, comes from agricultural activity. Likewise, given the diversity of types of agriculture that exist in the country, those who receive aid equal to or less than 5,000 euros to support part-time agriculture will also be considered professionals.
Basic Income Aid, always according to the basic proposal, will have a ceiling of 100,000 euros, with reductions of 25% between 60,000 and 75,000 euros; 50% between 75,000 and 90,000 euros; and 85% between 90,000 and 100,000 euros. Only grants equal to or greater than 300 euros will be paid. For young people, 3% of direct payments will be allocated, plus other complementary aids. The proposal contemplates the redistributive payment and complementary support to the first hectares of a farm for an amount of 10% of the direct payments. If the beneficiary is a woman, this amount is increased by 5%.
Ultimately, it is a proposal to continue negotiating with a schedule for applying the plan for six years, starting in 2023, so that from 2029 there will be another redistribution of funds. This would put an end to the current distribution based on the 2015 agreements, where conditions were set that fundamentally favored the sector in Andalusia.