No extra EU money for Dutch eco schemes

Outgoing Minister Piet Adema has not received any commitments in Brussels for additional financial space for eco schemes in the Netherlands. Adema did find 'a constructive attitude' among the EU Commissioners for the Dutch request. But the European Commission does not yet offer any certainty.

Because Dutch farmers 'subscribed' on a large scale for the various eco-schemes last year, there was ultimately insufficient budget to pay out the aforementioned amounts. Although there will be a 'subsequent payment' next year, many applicants call it a setback that the previous financial expectations cannot be met.

There have also been reports from some other EU countries in recent weeks about 'disappointing payouts', but it is not yet clear whether this is due to over-subscription, or whether the LNV ministries have apparently spent their CAP budgets differently.

Minister Adema made it clear in the monthly LNV ministerial council that there is so much enthusiasm and enthusiasm for the new approach among Dutch farmers that the EU should actually welcome and encourage it.

'We are doing exactly what was intended when shifting from hectare subsidies to targeted eco schemes. There was a lot of interest among the other LNV ministers in the way we approached this. We also seem to be ahead of the curve in this regard," the minister told Dutch reporters afterwards.

In addition, the evaluation of (the first year of) the 27 national strategy plans of the CAP was on the Brussels meeting agenda on Monday. These NSPs give the EU countries room to align parts of their agricultural policy with their national agricultural practice. Many LNV ministers felt that the European Commission could deal more flexibly with national exceptions.

Even Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski agrees with them to some extent, but is also bound by the legal and financial rules within the European institutions. According to Adema, 'further relaxation' could in theory lead to 'more leeway' for one's own choices.

Adema had to acknowledge that the EU rules against own tax money ('state aid') have been expanded to achieve Green Deal goals, but that individual countries must first report this to Brussels. Discussions are still ongoing about this with Brussels. The outgoing Dutch cabinet is also not allowed to set up 'new policy with new money' within the rules of The Hague.