A “yellow card” system for inadvertent breaches of support scheme rules, together with a “more proportionate” penalty system, were amongst the simplification measures announced by EU farm commissioner Phil Hogan.
However, speaking at a meeting of the EU’s agriculture committee in Strasbourg, Hogan also revealed that, although a review of greening requirements would take place this year, changes were unlikely to be introduced until the 2017 scheme year.
On the Common Agricultural Policy penalty system, he said that while it was important that the rules of the schemes were implemented and that public funds were protected, it was also important that farmers were able to farm without an excessively onerous burden, “especially one that they find threatening in terms of their payments”.
He added: “Farmers worry that unintentional mistakes might lead to the application of penalties and thus the loss of part of their income support. In recognition of this understandable concern, I have decided that the current system should be improved by making it more proportionate and understandable.”
Hogan said that the introduction of a regime of preliminary checks on applications would allow farmers up to 35 days after the final date of submission to make corrections to their aid applications without the application of any penalties.