On December 3rd in Brussels, took place a technical meeting of a group of AREPO experts, to investigate the implementation’s possibilities of the quality measures in the RDP 2014-2020. In this occasion, our regional experts analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the new measure, discussing the implementation problems of this instrument with Mr. G. Mathioudakis of DG AGRI.
In the final version of the Rural Development Regulation, the measure dedicated to the support of quality products will become the new Article 16, however, no changes were made to the content.
In addition, Mathiudakis emphasized that the measure represents a significant simplification by combining the old articles 132 and 133 in the new Article 16. This change should allow the regions to launch joint calls both for the measure for certification costs (ex 132) and for the promotion (ex 133).
For AREPO the main goal is the recognition of groups of farmers as beneficiaries of the measure and, consequently, the possibility to pay the aid for certification costs directly to the consortium and the producers associations (provided that it is legally defined by the statute). In this case, the annual ceiling of € 3.000, defined for the measure, refers to the individual farmer that adheres to the association. Finally, the Commission provides a degree of flexibility also in the definition of the eligibility criteria for promotion measure.
Despite the leeway of the Commission proposal, the Members States and the regions will have to decide on many of the issues related to implementation of quality measures. Therefore, it will be necessary to refer to each Member State to determine what conditions will be applied. It would be very important that the national governments do not reduce the flexibility given by the European Commission.