Most EU countries are prepared to meet the wishes of the European Parliament and the European Commission slightly more in the new common agricultural policy (cap).
Most LNV ministers can talk about more agricultural subsidies for Green Deal measures, about maximizing the EU subsidies to the very large agro-companies, including 'social (labor) laws' and more agricultural subsidies for animal welfare. .
At an informal video meeting last Monday, most LNV ministers agreed to this rapprochement with EP and EC, in an attempt to make the three-party talks on Friday April 30 in Brussels a success. Earlier, rotating EU chairman Portugal had said that April would be the last chance for detail work, as the deal has to be closed at the super trilogue on May 25 and 26. This agri-summit coincides with the six-monthly LNV ministerial meeting.
The share of agricultural funds for Environmental and Climate measures ('eco-schemes') in agricultural management is now being increased by the ministers from their initial 20% to 22% in 2023 and 2034, and to 25% in 2025. Ministers are thus following an earlier similar concession in Germany. It was argued that farmers should not only be reimbursed for the costs and expenses of ecfo schemes, but should also be able to earn something from them.
The LNV ministers are also responding to the request from the European Commission and the European Parliament that the long-drawn-out discussion about 'a social standard' in the entire EU for minimum wages, labor rights and against undeclared sector.
Temporary (foreign) hired workers in particular are still underpaid or exploited during harvesting in some countries. A fine system is now being considered. The Portuguese minister Maria do Céu Antunes said on Monday that 'we will work it out'.
Furthermore, it seems that agreement can be reached in the trilogue on Friday on how to put an end to excessive European subsidy flows to the large agri-companies. Countries will soon be able to choose from three options: a maximum upper limit (which only puts the big ones at a disadvantage), a percentage reduction (which affects iedereen), or a redistribution (in favor of small ones, the rest pays).
Countries that do not cooperate can be reduced on their benefits (read: will be fined). This is already the case with the Czech Republic, where the largest farm (Agrofert) is owned by the Prime Minister (Babis), and where only a few dozen entrepreneurs receive three-quarters of the agricultural EU subsidies.
At least five countries (Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary and Romania) are currently still against the proposed redistribution of agricultural subsidies, because - in their view - still existing 'unequal distributions between EU countries' will not be restored.
Despite the rapprochements, there are still plenty of obstacles and differences of opinion that could cause the trilogue negotiations to fail. In many areas, some countries can still hold their ground, or EU Commissioners or European Parliament can stick to their course and vision. The question then is whether they stick to their full right, or whether they settle for half or less.
Such explosive, not yet crystallized points of discussion include further reduction of chemical pesticides (min 50% in 2030), less fertilizer (min 20% in 2030), organic farming at 25% from the surface (only from the arable land, or from the entire agricultural area ), keeping strips along the waterfront (how many meters?) and crop rotation (3, 4 or 5 % of the arable land).
In the new cap policy, part of the European implementation, control and supervision will be returned to the EU countries, which can also decentralize their range of tasks to their federal states and regions. This makes European agricultural policy less uniform and coercive, and can lead to transitional measures and country-by-country exceptions.
The European Commission will negotiate with each of the countries about their approach and their implementation of the EU subsidy conditions.