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On 12 September 2018, the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee considered the Commission's Proposals for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), covering the period 2021-2027.
The reform package proposes a change of approach from compliance-based to performance-based monitoring, introduces more flexibility for Member States, and introduces a cap on the payments made to individual farms.
As the CAP reform will not take effect until after the end of the expected Brexit transition period, the UK will not be implementing these Proposals. However, EU agricultural policy will continue to affect UK consumers and farmers. The Committee has therefore asked the Minister for his assessment of the impact of the Proposals on the UK as a third country.
Update: on 31 October 2018, Members reviewed the response they had received from the Minister. They felt the Minister did not pay sufficient regard to the potential impact of these Proposals on the competitiveness of UK farmers, so requested further consideration of the issue. They also requested clarity on a point of apparent contradiction regarding whether any aspect of the Proposals could come into force before the UK leaves the EU, and for a view on the implications of a potential extension to the Brexit transition period.
Update: on 19 December 2018, Members reviewed the response they had received from the Minister. The draft Withdrawal Agreement has now clarified that the CAP will not apply to the UK even if the Brexit transition period is extended beyond 2020, so the Committee asked to be kept updated on negotiations as they progress and for an ongoing high-level assessment of the impact the proposals would have on the UK as a third country.
Update: on 4 September 2019, Members reviewed the response they had received from the Minister. The Committee noted the Minister's update on the progress of negotiations and the key issues under discussion, and requested further updates as negotiations progress. They also asked whether the UK will continue to participate in meetings related to the CAP reform, in light of the Government's policy of only attending EU meetings where the UK has a significant national interest.
Update: On 23 October 2019, Members reviewed the response from the Minister. The Committee noted the update on the CAP review process and asked to be informed of any substantive changes that emerge. The Minister’s letter confirmed that UK representatives are no longer attending meetings on the CAP as it will not be implemented in the UK after Brexit. Members questioned whether this decision was in the UK’s national interest and noted their displeasure with it. The Committee also wrote, seeking clarity on the status of the funding farmers receive as part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.
Update: In his letter of the 16 January 2020, the Minister reiterates that UK representatives will not be attending meetings on the CAP. He also provides updates on the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) and funding for farm support. The Committee’s response asks for the timeline for the CSS and farm support. It also seeks clarity on how long funding will be provided for and what amount will be made available.
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