Welcomes the higher allocation by theMember States and regions of funds for environmental measures and for physicalinvestments aimed at boosting competitiveness and sustainable development ofrural areas; expects that those measures, together with the services whichmanagers of the countryside provide to the benefit of climate policy andbiodiversity strategy, will have a long-lasting impact and high economicleverage fostering efficient additionality between the various funds;highlights the importance of introducing the risk-management instrument as partof the EAFRD, and calls on the Member States to support the setting-up ofmutual funds and insurance premiums with a view to removing vulnerabilities inthe agricultural sector; notes furthermore that ensuring productivity andtherefore competitiveness in the long term depends very much on investing inenvironmental aspects of farming and sustainable management of soil, water andbiodiversity, such as soil erosion prevention, efficient nutrient cycling,optimal pollination, topsoil creation and integrating agroforestry andsustainable forest management to build resilience to climate change and tofurther develop a strong bioeconomy; notes that farmers are less able to investin these kinds of measures themselves while their incomes are being squeezed inthe current economic situation, which makes EU and Member State funding vitalto enable a response to increasing challenges, such as future productivityprosperity, food security and climate change;18.
Callson the Commission to guarantee easier and geographically balanced access tofunding, according particular priority to undertakings and cooperatives inrural and structurally disadvantaged areas, and to projects seeking to promoteterritorial cohesion and the networking of rural areas;19. Highlightsthat the measures of the rural development funding directed at fosteringinnovation and investment in emerging technologies and precision farming shouldbe substantially reinforced in order to enhance the competitiveness of Europeanenterprises in rural areas;20. Maintainsthat projects financed under RDPs must genuinely meet the need to create growthand employment, and calls on the Commission and managing authorities to draw upex ante and ex post assessments of the added value and the economic and socialimpact of the projects and operations financed;21. Callson the Commission to ensure that mechanisms are in place to correlate productionand sales prices and thus ensure that the main beneficiaries of CAP financingare agricultural producers;22. Considersthat the EAFRD was not fully taken advantage of by some Member States andregions owing to the increased complexity and control requirements imposed bythe Commission, and therefore calls for a centralised, digital system to beintroduced at European level, thus enabling accounting issues to be identified;asks the Commission to ensure that all parties are in due time informed aboutthe renewed EAFRD structure and to actively facilitate the uptake andvisibility of these funds;23.
Stressesthe importance of adjustments to the ESI Funds that will enhance theirapplicability to the outermost regions, boosting the economy and local employmentin these areas that are characterised by distance, remoteness, dispersion andsmall size, and that consequently require particular attention in relation tocreating and preserving jobs;24. Notesthat some Member States or regions, sometimes those most in need of ruraldevelopment, do not promote participation in schemes, nor in some cases evenoffer schemes which are needed in their territories;25. Callson the Commission to strengthen its role for the purpose of exchanging anddisseminating best practice among Member States and regions regarding the useof the EAFRD;26.
Callson the Member States, regions and the Commission to efficiently and fullyimplement the EAFRD and avoid gold-plating or adding unnecessary procedures;underlines that oriented advisory services andcontinuous monitoring and assistance are essential in the operationalprogrammes to support farmers, forest holders and rural communities for thepurpose of efficient and transparent implementation; asks the Commission to continuethe simplification of the CAP while not decreasing the scope of the RDPs, and thusto reduce unnecessary administrative burdens and red tape without compromisingpolicy objectives, and, where feasible and necessary, to adapt the basiclegislation to this effect so as to allow for quick and easy access to Europeanfunding, especially for small farms, with a view to achieving the CAPobjectives; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure thatsufficient resources are dedicated to successful fulfilment of remaining ex anteconditionalities; is concerned that excessivebureaucracy and complex rules are making CAP-based financing less attractive;hopes that simplification will be achieved without delay;27. Welcomes the establishment by the Commission ofthe High Level Group of Independent Experts on Monitoring Simplification forBeneficiaries of the European Structural and Investment Funds, with the aim ofreducing the administrative burden for beneficiaries of these funds, includingthe EAFRD; hopes that the group’s reports will make it possible to identifypractical ways to implement further simplification of European funds and tomake them easier to access;28. Stressesthat, in order to improve the environment for investment in the EU, the necessarystructural reforms must be carried out and bureaucracy reduced;29.
Isconcerned that measures to help farmers manage risks and to set up producergroups were not included in many programmes that could support farmers tobetter react to increased market volatility;30. Considersthat the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development has thenecessary technical knowledge and overview of rural and agricultural issues andis therefore the natural manager of the RDPs, and urges the Commission toensure that staffing levels are in place to ensure proper implementation andauditing of the CAP;31. Stresses that the successful achievementof PA and OP objectives is greatly facilitated by active involvement of thelocal and regional levels and of the Local Action Groups (LAGs) and otherrelevant stakeholders on the ground such as cooperatives, trade associationsand POs in ensuring that projects are successfully embedded in their localareas and effectively operated; welcomes the success of Community-led local