Although Commissioner Dacian Cioloş said his target is “to have a common agricultural policy for 27 national policies,” during the presentation of the legislative proposals for the CAP on October 12th, Miroslav Naydenov, the Bulgarian Minister for Agriculture and Food, criticised the new Commission standpoint.
The ministry’s position, also supported by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, is that both Bulgaria and Romania should be allowed to reach the average of EU direct payments ceiling in 2014 starting with the new budgetary period, not 2016 as foreseen in the Accession Treaty, as it is they who have absorbed most EU funds in terms of direct payments. The argument behind this is that Bulgaria could benefit from an additional 226 million Euros, thus allowing it to implement supplementary reforms in the agricultural systems.
Arguing the need for better support, Bulgarian officials complemented the opportunity the legislative proposals provide for transferring funds from one measure to another in the Rural Development Pillar, but criticised the fact that they still cannot shift sufficient funds from Pillar I to Pillar II, or visa versa if needed, being limited at 5%. Another request from officials, as well as from farmers’ representatives, was for the creation of a special tobacco-producing region oriented measure.
While Bulgarian officials, through the voice of Minister Naydenov and farmers’ representatives, ask for more funds for farm modernization in order to catch up with the high quality EU standards and meet market expectations, Commissioner Cioloş indirectly hinted, during a bilateral meeting with Borisov and Naydenov, that although Bulgarian produce should catch up with the EU high quality market, this remains a matter that Bulgaria must solve itself. “CAP gives enough opportunities”, Cioloş said, it’s now a matter of how you use them in order to solve problems.