During its accession to the EU, Croatia declared 900 000 hectares for direct payments out of its total agricultural land of 3.1 million hectares in negotiations with the Commission. This absurdity is perhaps best illustrated by the karst region, which is in an unenviable position because it has 1.6 million hectares of agricultural land, but only 72 400 hectares have been declared to the Commission. Many of these areas are cultivated by farmers, but they cannot register them because they are not registered with the Commission.
In a parliamentary question posed to the European Commission on 14 October 2020, Croatian Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Ivan Vilibor Sincic of the Non-attached Members, “given that Croatia’s agricultural land area was poorly negotiated”, MEP Sincic asked the Commission “can Croatia request the registration of new agricultural land for direct payments from the Commission?”
He further asked two pointed questions. The first being “what legal process must Croatia go through in order to register these new agricultural areas?” which he followed with “which other Member States have requested the registration of new/additional agricultural land for direct payments from the Commission?”
On 02 December, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski responded on behalf of the European Commission. He responded that “individual farmers may claim to their respective national authorities support for any new agricultural parcel, provided it complies with the definition of ‘agricultural area’ laid down in Article 4(1)(e) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013” and “Member States implementing the Basic Payment Scheme, which is the case for Croatia, the support is only granted to farmers that hold and declare a corresponding number of payments entitlements”.
Commissioner Wojciechowski stated that “any new declared areas are registered by the competent national authorities in the identification system for agricultural parcels referred to in Article 68(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013”.
In closing, Commissioner Wojciechowski concluded that “no other Member States ever requested the registration of new/additional agricultural land for direct payments from the Commission” and “the Commission has no empowerment to register agricultural area for direct payments; in the context of shared management, it falls within the power of the Member States to do it”.
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/panorama-summer-meadow-field-away-3629120/