What is proposed?
The EC proposals are available here: Commission website .
There are four main draft regulations covering direct payments, rural development, market measures (the single Common Market Organisation (CMO)) and horizontal financial control and monitoring procedures.
Although these regulations set out the main thrust of the future Common Agricultural Policy we will need to wait for the implementing rules for some of the fine detail. These will follow on after the main regulations are agreed in Europe.
Why is this important for Scotland?
This is important for Scotland because a strong Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is vital to ensure a sustainable future for Scotland's agriculture sector.
What does Scotland want from CAP reform?
Scotland wants a fair deal for Scotland's farmers, with sufficient flexibility in the system to meet Scotland's diverse farming needs. We also want a simpler system with less bureaucracy for all involved.
We believe it's vital that there is a better link between payments and farming activity, supporting productive agriculture and ensuring inactivity does not attract support. We also need the ability to continue coupled payments where this is appropriate to do so.
The Scottish Government also believes that it's crucial that the CAP can support new entrants coming into the farming sector.
What is the Common Agricultural Policy?
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provides a system of agricultural subsidies and programmes throughout the EU. First established in 1957, the CAP provides a programme of agricultural support throughout the EU and currently accounts for around 41% of the EU Budget. It is split into 2 Pillars - Pillar 1 relates to direct support payments, such as the Single Farm Payment which is currently worth about £0.5bn a year to Scotland's farmers, whilst Pillar 2 supports the Rural Development Programme.
What is meant by 'greening' of the CAP?
Greening measures could require farmers to comply with additional green measures such as crop diversification, maintaining permanent grassland and setting aside the establishment of arable for ecological schemes focus areas. The Scottish Government is calling for a better definition of greening which we believe should mean promoting agriculture in a way that addresses food security, energy security, water security, biodiversity and climate change.
What are Pillar 1 and Pillar 2?
Pillar 1 relates to direct support payments such as the Single Farm Payment (SFP) which is currently worth about £0.5bn to Scotland's farmers whilst Pillar 2 supports the Rural Development Programme.
When was the CAP last reformed?
The last major reform was in 2003 and the most recent review known as the "Health Check" was in 2008
How did the EC come up with these proposals?
The European Commission published their communication on the future CAP, "The CAP Towards 2020 - meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future", in November 2010 and followed this up with a consultation which closed in January 2011. Further information is available on the Commission website.
What happens next?
Formal negotiations have now started in Europe and the Scottish Government will continue to fight hard for the best possible deal for Scotland's farmers.
In Scotland, we held a consultation to gather stakeholders' views on the initial EC proposals. There will be a second consultation in due course on how Scotland should implement the changes.
You can keep up to date with the latest information relating to Scotland on these pages or you can follow @GreenerScotland on Twitter.