According to a new report from the European Court of Auditors, EU instruments helping farmers to insure their income against falling prices and production losses have only partially met their objectives, and their uptake remains low and uneven.
Furthermore, some exceptional measures have not been properly targeted and can lead to disproportionate compensation payments, say the auditors.
The EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) contains a range of measures whose purpose is to guarantee a stable and adequate income for farmers. Direct payments to the 6.4 million farmers in the 28 member states account for €41 billion per year. Alongside these direct payments, the CAP includes specific instruments for preventing and managing risks and crises in the agricultural sector.
For example, insurance and mutual funds can be used to stabilize farm income. There are also exceptional measures which are intended to stabilise the market as a whole in the event of serious disturbance, such as when Russia decided in 2014 to ban certain agricultural imports from the EU.
The auditors looked specifically at whether these tools had been implemented efficiently and were delivering results. They focused in particular on the EU’s support for insurance and the exceptional measures introduced for the fruit and vegetables sector following the 2014 Russian sanctions.