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Report on CAP 2023-2027 highlights shift towards a sustainable EU farming model

Nov 27, 2023 | European news

On 23 November 2023, the European Commission published the report entitled Summary of CAP Strategic Plans for 2023-2027: joint effort and collective ambition. This latest assessment confirms the important role of these national plans to support EU agriculture in the transition to a sustainable farming system, as well as farmers’ income and food security.

This report responds to the EU legislators’ call for the Commission to draw up a summary of the 28 approved CSPs to assess their joint effort and collective ambition in addressing the CAP specific objectives. It also addresses the CSPs’ contribution to the Union’s targets for 2030 set out in the Farm to Fork and the EU Biodiversity Strategies.

The Commission’s assessment draws on the study Mapping and analysis of CAP Strategic Plans. Assessment of joint efforts for 2023-27 carried out by an external body. This study conducted between July 2022 and June 2023 offered a first assessment of the strategic decisions made by Member States under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The report examines the CSPs’ combined efforts towards the CAP’s objectives based on an analysis of the needs and intervention logic established by Member States. The analysis focuses on the CSPs’ priorities, financial allocation, targets, requirements, and voluntary practices. The report’s conclusions include:

  • the new CSPs are an appropriate tool to pursue CAP policy objectives.
  • the CSPs show continued support for farm income, economic sustainability and resilience of the agricultural sector throughout the EU.
  • there is a need for reinforcement of risk management tools and their increased uptake across the Union through EU or national schemes.
  • the CSPs show potential to contribute to climate change mitigation, in particular by enhancing carbon sequestration, while climate adaptation challenges call for a more holistic and longer-term approach that requires relevant management practices and investment.
  • the CSPs show progress on sustainable management of natural resources, in particular on soil and reducing dependency on chemical inputs.
  • the CSPs also have the potential to contribute to halting and reversing biodiversity loss, improving ecosystem services and preserving habitats and landscapes. However, the scale of biodiversity-related needs calls for greater coverage.
  • more holistic approaches to specific sectors will be needed.
  • further work is needed to support the quantification of the impacts of CSP-supported practices and investments.
  • the CSPs help promote social sustainability and show efforts to revitalise farming.
  • the wide variety of socio-economic needs of rural areas entail heavy reliance on LEADER and the development of smart villages.
  • the outcome of the CSPs will largely depend on the farming community’s level of engagement, knowledge and innovation.

This report is published during the first year of CSP implementation, while data on uptake by farmers and other beneficiaries will not be published until 2025. So, this report therefore relies on the values of indicators planned in the approved CSPs and on qualitative appraisal of the potential effects of the choices. This report is a step in the broader process of assessing the performance of the CAP, following the lessons of the 2014-2020 period outlined in the Commission’s CAP Performance Report on that period. Additional information will come from: (i) implementation data at the level of CAP beneficiaries from 2025; (ii) assessment of the new delivery model in 2025; (iii) interim evaluations in 2026; (iv) annual performance reports; and (v) ex-post evaluation in 2031.