The management and monitoring of the cross-compliance system for direct agricultural aid, one of the key elements of the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, will be improved, taking into account the conclusions of the report presented by the European Commission on 28 March (see Europolitics 3279).

The European Commission adopted, on 20 December, most of the legal measures presented in the report which come within its responsibility. These mainly concern the harmonisation of monitoring provisions so that the burden for farmers and national administrations is reduced to a strict minimum. Farmers' participation in the farm advisory system or relevant certification schemes may now be taken into account in the control system. The calculation of reduction of payments will now also take into account the possible improvement or worsening of the situation in case of repeated infringement.

The other legal measures proposed in the March report come under the responsibility of the Council of Ministers. They are being discussed by the member states with a view to implementation from 2008. These measures mainly concern the possibility to exempt from reductions cases of minor infringements or cases where the amount of reduction is very low. They also concern the...

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