The European project tackling environmental and social outcomes has always been ambitious, and the CAP has been a bedrock for collective policy, now it is pushing for significant sustainability progress.
Following approval by all 27 member states, the EU’s new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) took effect 1 January 2023 with €264bn earmarked to support European farmers in the transition towards sustainability in the ag sector. With financing and national funding, the CAP budget for 2023 – 2027 totals €307bn and is labelled fairer, greener and more social.
The strategic plans all support viable farm income and resilience and under the new CAP a higher level of public support is given to those who need it the most with small and medium-sized farms in 25 member countries receiving higher funding. Under the new CAP strategic plans, EU members are required to demonstrate higher ambitions in their CAP plans compared to the current situation.
Around 32% of total CAP funding is targeted at delivering benefits for the climate, water, soil, air, biodiversity and animal welfare. Through incentives, farmers are encouraged to store carbon in soil and biomass, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the plans will help with adaptation in 35% of EU’s ag area. Funding for organic production will double in 2027 compared to the area funded in 2018. Specific support to young farmers totals €8.5bn of public spending in the approved strategic plans.
There are also incentives to improve working conditions on farms with CAP payments linked to respect of certain EU social and labour standards. It is expected more than 6m people will benefit directly from CAP funded advice, training and knowledge exchange or participate in innovation projects under the European Innovation Partnership.