A fairer and more transparent penalty system for direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), ending the “climate of fear” for farmers, has been outlined by European farm commissioner, Phil Hogan.
Addressing the Agriculture and Rural Development committee of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Hogan (pictured above) unveiled a new simplification package which would allow farmers to correct mistakes to their aid applications for up to 35 days after the final date of submission, all without any penalties.
The commissioner also outlined a so-called “yellow card system” to be applied to first-time offenders, which would reduce their administrative penalty by 50%, provided their over-declaration was considered as being minor.
“These simplification measures should have a direct effect on farmers, sending a clear message that our interest is not to catch farmers out as it were, but ensure that public money is well spent,” he said.
“Farmers, I know, fully support that goal. I believe that preventive preliminary checks, the yellow card and the simplified penalty system should make the lives of farmers easier and, even more importantly, they should reduce significantly the number of errors and consequently of cases where administrative penalties would need to be applied.
“These proposed changes, which should end the climate of fear for farmers, are a fair and proportionate response to the concerns of smaller farmers in particular.”