Belgium misses deadline to submit strategic plan for agricultural policy

Belgium misses deadline to submit strategic plan for agricultural policy
A farm in Flanders. Photo by Helen Lyons/The Brussels Times

One-third of the 27 EU Member States, including Belgium, have missed the deadline to submit a national strategic plan for agriculture as part of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The CAP, which launched in 1962, bills itself as a partnership between agriculture and society, and between Europe and its farmers. It aims to support the sector while tackling climate change and ensuring a stable supply of affordable food.

Belgium is the only country in Europe that is allowed to submit two strategic plans due to the autonomy of its regions, but Flanders also missed its deadline.

“Of course, there has already been extensive informal consultation with the Commission about the Plan, but we want to proceed carefully in this process, and this is in the interest of all Flemish farmers,” the Flemish department for agriculture said in a statement.

Balancing the environment with agriculture

Besides Belgium and Germany, the Czech Republic and a number of Baltic states have also been delayed, Euractiv reports.

The CAP has been criticised by some agricultural actors, who say that EU farm subsidies are going to wealthy landowners instead of family farmers.

Photo from VILT.

There is also contention between agriculture and climate change goals, with some saying that EU farming initiatives are a “death kiss” to the Green Deal. The European Parliament has also been divided on animal welfare as it relates to the CAP.

Next steps for Belgium

The public enquiry on the new CAP will run from 14 January to 14 March 2022. After its completion, the Flemish government still has to approve the CAP plan, after which the European Commission also has to give its approval.

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In order to be able to start a new Common Agricultural Policy on 1 January 2023, there must be a Strategic Plan approved by the European Commission by 31 December 2022.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski thanked the Member States that did meet their deadline on Twitter.

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