ANNOUNCEMENT 24 Oct 2014
In October 2014, Belgium issued the Agreements (Arrêté) establishing the eligibility criteria and requirements of the direct income payment scheme. The scheme aims to support farmers in Belgium under the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) 2014-2020.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Belgian Official Gazette, “Arrêté du Gouvernement flamand fixant les règles relatives aux paiements directs en faveur des agriculteurs au titre des régimes de soutien relevant de la politique agricole commune“, [Decree of the Flemish Government laying down the rules relating to direct payments to farmers under support schemes under the common agricultural policy]. Available at: https://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi_loi/change_lg_2.pl?language=fr&nm=2014036845&la=F
Wallex Wallonia Portal, “Arrêté du Gouvernement wallon exécutant le régime des paiements directs en faveur des agriculteurs“, [Decree of the Walloon Government implementing the system of direct payments in favor of farmers]. Available at: https://wallex.wallonie.be/de/contents/acts/20/20075/3.html
On 24 October 2014, Belgium (the Government of Flanders and the Government of Wallonia) published the Agreements (Arrêté) 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 Belgian payments was set out in Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 at EUR 2.6 billion (approx. USD 3.3 billion).
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 Belgium, the adopted Agreements establishes the national eligibility criteria and requirements to be met by applicants. The additional requirements relate to, among others, agricultural activity and environmental practices. The scheme also sets incentives for young farmers.
The payments will be managed by “Departement Landbouw en Visserij” (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) in Flanders and by Organisme Payeur Wallon (OPW) in Wallonia.
The measure entered into force on 1 January 2015 and it shall be applicable during the 2015-2020 period. Previous to that, Belgium 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 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).