Press release — Prague, April 24 2009, PR CZ PRES - The Presidency has reached another milestone in its quest for simplified Community legislation. At the April Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting the Ministers discussed the state of play and areas in which legislation should be further simplified. The Presidency intends to draw conclusions on this priority dossier.
Communiqué de presse
Prague, 24 April 2009
Simplified legislation for a cheaper and more competitive CAP
The Presidency has reached another milestone in its quest for simplified Community legislation. At the April Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting the Ministers discussed the state of play and areas in which legislation should be further simplified. The Presidency intends to draw conclusions on this priority dossier.
“Simplification must be viewed in a complex way – as regards today’s farmers, the legal environment covers a wide scale of legislative documents – rules for plant production, breeding, environmental and sanitation standards and others”, said Czech Agriculture Minister. “Modern agriculture puts emphasis on flexibility, competitiveness and the possibility to respond to market signals, and this must be reflected in flexible legislation that will make the work of farmers easier, rather than the contrary”, stressed the Minister. There certainly is potential to simplify more – for example by introducing electronic administration systems. Furthermore, there is no doubt that obsolete legislation must be repealed and individual legal rules must be consolidated – i.e. texts which have been through numerous amendments must be “pruned out” and unified. This could concern for instance the area of cross-compliance. In its communication, the Commission proposed visits of its representatives to farms in order to assess the practicality of legislation on the spot. Here, a number of Member States require clarification as to the ways in which public administration will be involved in such a process. Most Member States are also in favour of reinforcing the role of paying agencies. However, the powers and functions of these agencies and their relation towards public administration vary across the Member States. In the middle of this week, the Presidency hosted a conference of the directors of these paying agencies.
“So far, the expert debates and partly also political debates concerning the process of simplification in the Council have confirmed that the direction chosen by the Czech Republic is the right one and that the choice of legislative simplification as one of the priorities is a very timely one. However, the most important step is still before us – the political debate and, above all, drawing up conclusions and adopting them at ministerial level in May”, added First Deputy Minister Ivo Hlaváč.
At the Council meeting in March, Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel presented a Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled “A simplified CAP for Europe – a success for all”, published by the Commission on 19 March. This Communication sums up the achievements of the European Commission as regards the simplification of legislation over the last 4 years and also proposes certain new measures intended to improve the legal environment in agriculture for the coming period. To complement this report the Presidency has published a position paper - “Simplified Common Agricultural Policy: What next?”.
The primary aim of this document is to encourage the Member States to think profoundly about the issue of simplification. By asking questions the Presidency offers the Ministers certain guidelines for the assessment of the progress made so far and it also wants to hear their suggestions concerning areas which should be targeted primarily and where the simplification process would be the most effective. “We expect above all that the discussion will crystallise into proposals for the Council conclusions that will be submitted by the Presidency to the Ministers in May and will be considered really significant by the Member States,” said Minister Gandalovič.
By 2012 the European Commission would like to cut the administrative burden of farmers by one quarter. The Czech Presidency, which has chosen the simplification and better regulation of European legislation as one of its main priorities, is contributing significantly to this aim. Under the leadership of Minister Gandalovič the Agriculture and Fisheries Council continues to identify areas where farmers feel the most restricted and overwhelmed by regulations, which are moreover often outdated. Commissioner Marian Fischer Boel also agreed that the main result of the simplification of the Common Agriculture Policy is the fact that the farmers will have more time to do their work and less time will be needed for filling out forms. The Commission expects that the simplification will also result in financial savings. According to a report of the European Commission 300 outdated rules were abolished in the past four years and the number of legal instruments for state aid was lowered from six to three.
Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Agriculture