Belgium has been allocated 3.872 billion euros in the proposed European Union (EU) 2021-2027 budget for the common agriculture policy (CAP), presented on Friday by the European Commission. This amount, which came as no surprise, is lower than the sum of just over 4 billion euros earmarked in the last budget programming.
The Commission had announced in early May that the CAP budget would be reduced by 5% to offset the loss of the United Kingdom’s contribution as a result of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, Brexit, and to conduct new or strengthened policies in areas such as security, defence, immigration and the Erasmus exchange programme, while presenting a proposal acceptable to the 27 remaining EU members.
The 365-billion-euro budget is 28.5% of total EU spending for 2021-2027. About 265 billion euros will be earmarked for direct aid, 78.8 billion for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and 10 billion for research and innovation.
Of the 3.872 billion euros the Commission proposes to allocate to Belgium, the country will be able to earmark 3.4 billion euros for direct aid and 470 million in EAFRD funds.
The Commission also proposes to modernize the CAP by granting member States, and, in the case of Belgium, the Flemish and Walloon regions, greater room for manoeuvre in choosing how to earmark their allocations.
They will be able to tailor programmes to respond as effectively as possible to the concerns of their farmers and their wider rural communities.
The 27 will also be required to draw up strategic plans describing how they intend to meet nine economic, environmental and social objectives defined at the EU level. The Commission will be able to suspend payments where necessary if commitments are not met.
The European executive also proposes to encourage small farmers and to link support more closely to the environment and climate.