Commission green-lights early distribution of direct payments
By Joanna Sopinska | Thursday 26 July 2012
In order to help farmers overcome “liquidity” problems, the European Commission allowed member states to advance 50% of the Common Agricultural Policy direct payments for 2012. A decision to this end was approved, on 25 July, by the Direct Payments Management Committee. The advance will be paid from 16 October onwards rather than from the usual date of 1 December. This, according to the Commission, would help the farmers cope with problems stemming from the “ongoing financial crisis and unfavourable climatic conditions”. The formal decision will be published in the EU’s Official Journal in the coming weeks.
Until now, ten member states have officially requested their direct payments to be paid in advance (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Latvia, Hungary, France, Lithuania, Romania and Ireland), the Commission said. Under the decision, all member states are eligible to issue such a request. Countries that maintain ‘coupled’ payments will be allowed to advance 80% of beef and veal payments.
The EU’s grain and oilseed farmers are contending with dry weather in the Southern and Eastern regions, while too much rain has delayed crops in Northern and Western countries, the bloc’s crop forecasting unit said, on 23 July.
In a separate vote, the committee provided an exceptional derogation for farmers in Northern Italy (Emilia Romagna, Lombardia and Veneto regions) affected by the earthquake at the end of May, to receive advances from 1 August onwards. The special measure will permit Italy to advance 50% of the direct payments to farmers in the 113 communes affected by the earthquake and to the milk producers who deliver their milk on a regular basis to the storage centres situated in those communes – within a maximum limit of €40 million for advances paid before 16 October.