Bulgarian agriculture sector has serious expectations for a clear and specific implementation of the future parameters of the new EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), said Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Prof. Dr. Hristo Bozukov during a meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Visegrad Group countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovak Republic) and Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia, which takes place in Budapest, Hungary. He clarified that it is crucial for our country to have enough time to complete the Strategic Plan.
"Bulgaria's main concern is that the schedule for the adoption of delegated and implementing acts to the basic regulations, as well as the need to implement their provisions in the strategic plans, will hardly allow compliance with the submission deadline, which is January 1, 2022 ", explained Minister Bozukov. He pointed out that a flexible approach and assistance should be rendered by the EC services to reduce the time pressure.
Minister Bozukov added that the preparation of the Strategic Plan, which will shape the policy in the coming years, is a complex process that requires the active involvement of interested parties. "This, in its turn, suggests sufficient time resource and clear guidance to be provided in a timely manner and implemented by all member states," he stated.
According to him, each member state has its interest in speeding up the preparation and submission of its Strategic Plan, so as not to leave the farmers without financial support in 2023. "Additional pressure and control from the EC is not necessary. The Commission should facilitate the information exchange on the progress from all member states, as well as the regular publication and sharing of the content of the strategic plans already submitted. We expect the EC to show flexibility in the adoption of the national strategic plans, giving an opportunity to each member state to provide additional information on its elements at a later stage, "said Minister Bozukov.
Receiving timely feedback and access to the European Commission's answers to questions from Member States is essential for the uniformly and transparently application of the CAP package rules, stated clearly Bulgarian minister during the meeting.
Minister Bozukov added also that Bulgaria proposes to prepare and publish a checklist on which the EC services will evaluate the plan. "Given the short deadlines for finalizing and submitting their plans, it will be useful for the each one to provide a preliminary review of the individual parts of the Strategic Plan and remove ambiguities and inaccuracies before the official upload of the sections on the portal of the System for fund management (SFC).
A schedule may be devised for each Member State to send its final materials on the different parts of the Strategic Plan and the types of intervention, as well as clear deadlines may be set for the Commission to send its comments. The preliminary examination according to schedules will require an extension of the deadline, but will facilitate their faster adoption and approval later. This can ensure the implementation of the New Model from the beginning of 2023, "he explained.
During the meeting, the agriculture ministers signed a joint declaration on the need for a transparent adoption procedure of the CAP Strategic Plans and the functionality of the New Implementation Model. Minister Hristo Bozukov highlighted that there are still some uncertainties about the effect of implementing the New Model. Therefore, it is extremely important for Member States to gain the necessary degree of flexibility, both in the planning and in the course of reporting on the implementation.