ANNOUNCEMENT 19 Nov 2014
In February 2014, the Estonian government established the eligibility criteria and requirements of the direct income payment scheme. The scheme aims to support farmers in Estonia under the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) 2014-2020 (see related state act).
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
European Union Common Agricultural Policy Implementation Act. Riigi Teataja. Available at: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/104072017063
EUR-Lex. Official Gazette. "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". 20/12/2013. Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32013R1307&qid=1619526760849
On 19 November 2014, the Estonian government announced the ‘European Union Common Agricultural Policy Implementation Act’, 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 Estonian payments was set out in Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 at EUR 728 million (approx. USD 913.6 million).
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 specific by member states. In the case of Estonia, the mentioned regulation establishes the national eligibility criteria and requirements to be met by applicants, including by referring to a set of provisions included in other regulations and standards. The requirements relate to good agricultural practice and good environmental conditions and must be met by beneficiaries of the scheme.
The payments will be managed by the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB), an Estonian government agency established in 2000 that serves as the paying agency of the European Union. As such, it is responsible for organising the granting of national subsidies, European Union agricultural and rural development subsidies, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund subsidies, and market management subsidies. ARIB is also responsible for maintaining national registers and other databases related to agriculture.
The measure entered into force on 1 January 2015 and shall be applicable until the end of 2020. Prior to the measure, Estonia was financing its income support payments primarily from the 2007-2013 budget of the EAGF which was established under a different subset of rules. In order to grant income support payments to Estonian farmers using the budget from the 2015-2020 budget, the country needed to establish the national rules for the 2014-2020 CAP framework.
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 two first are primarily financed by the EAGF; whilst the third and last support type is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).