This week the European Commission released its proposals for funding the gap between the current and next rural development programmes.
Essentially the draft regulations, which will need to go through the legislative procedure within the European Parliament, will allow the Scottish government to keep approving new LFASS, agri-environment and forest-environment applications during 2014, although agri-environment capital is not included and existing commitments for woodland creation can also be funded. The regualtions would allow Scottish Government to draw down a European contribution from the 2014-2020 programme to pay for these if they choose to do so.
The effect of this draft transition regulation suggests the Commission is content to pay for old commitments with new money.
Although this clarification is welcome, the Scottish Government is keen to push for a better arrangement. In particular they had hoped to be able to roll over the whole SRDP for one year and are still pushing for this. Failing a complete roll over of the programme Scottish Government would like to see the following measures/articles also included in the transitional arrangements:
- Article 20(a)(i) – Skills Development
- Article 20(b)(i) – CCAGS
- Article 20(b)(iii) and Article 20(b)(iv) – Food Processing and Marketing Co-operation
- Article 20(a)(ii) – New Entrants
- Article 20(b)(i) – Modernisation of Agricultural Holdings