ANNOUNCEMENT 19 Dec 2014
In December 2014, the Austrian government established the eligibility criteria and requirements of the direct income payment scheme. The scheme aims to support farmers in Austria under the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) 2014-2020 (see related state act).
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Law Information System, Federal Gazette of the Republic of Austria, BGBl. II Nr. 368/2014, Verordnung des Bundesministers für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft über Direktzahlungen im Rahmen der gemeinsamen Agrarpolitik (Direktzahlungs-Verordnung 2015): https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/BgblAuth/BGBLA_2014_II_368/BGBLA_2014_II_368.pdfsig
EUR-Lex, Official Journal of the European Union, 20 December 2013, "Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing rules for direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 637/2008 and Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009": https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32013R1307&from=EN
On 20 December 2014, the Austrian government adopted the Direct Payments Regulations establishing the eligibility criteria and requirements of the direct income payment scheme. Under the scheme, eligible local farmers receive direct income payments under the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF). The 2015-2020 budget for these Austrian payments has a total value of EUR 3.461 billion (approx. USD 4.187 billion) established by Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of 2 December 2013, see related state act.
Income support measures to farmers take the form of financial grants. According to Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, beneficiaries are active farmers that meet minimum requirements further specified by the Member States. In the case of Austria, the Direct Payments Regulations establishes eligibility criteria and requirements to be met by national applicants, such as a minimum of the agricultural area of 1.5 hectares. Farmers also have to prove that their agricultural activities are not insignificant by providing tax certificates.
The Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA), a legal entity under public law, established in 1993 and is operating as the paying agency for the Common Agricultural Policy. AMA is in charge of the national application process and responsible for verifying the compliance of beneficiaries and the payment transactions.
The measure entered into force on 1 January 2015 and shall be applicable during the 2015-2020 period. Previous to that, Austria was financing its income support payments primarily from the 2007-2013 budget of the EAGF, which was established under a different subset of rules.
EU's CAP framework
The CAP framework is the EU-wide agricultural policy established in 1962 that is subject to reforms and new rules every six years. According to the EU, it aims to support farmers and improve agricultural productivity, ensuring a stable supply of affordable food. Under the CAP, Member States provide three main types of support to the agriculture sector: (i) income support measures, (ii) market measures; and (iii) rural development measures. The first is primarily financed by the EAGF; whilst the third and last support type is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).