Regulation (EU) 2021/2115 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 2 December 2021 establishing rules on support for strategic plans to be drawn up by Member States under the common agricultural policy (CAP Strategic Plans) and financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1305/2013 and (EU) No 1307/2013

Published date06 December 2021
Subject MatterAgricultural structural funds
Official Gazette PublicationOfficial Journal of the European Union, L 435, 6 December 2021
6.12.2021 EN Official Journal of the European Union L 435/1


of 2 December 2021

establishing rules on support for strategic plans to be drawn up by Member States under the common agricultural policy (CAP Strategic Plans) and financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1305/2013 and (EU) No 1307/2013


Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 42 and Article 43(2) thereof,

Having regard to the 1979 Act of Accession, and in particular paragraph 6 of Protocol No 4 on cotton attached thereto,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

Having regard to the opinion of the Court of Auditors (1),

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (2),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions (3),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure (4),


(1) The Commission communication of 29 November 2017 entitled ‘The Future of Food and Farming’ sets out the challenges, objectives and orientations for the future common agricultural policy (CAP) after 2020. Those objectives include making the CAP more result-driven and market-oriented, boosting modernisation and sustainability, including the economic, social, environmental and climate sustainability of the agricultural, forestry and rural areas, and helping reduce the Union legislation-related administrative burden for beneficiaries.
(2) In order to address the global dimension and implications of the CAP, the Commission should ensure coherence with the Union external policies and instruments, in particular in development cooperation and trade. The Union’s commitment to policy coherence for development requires the taking into account of development objectives and principles when designing policies.
(3) Since the CAP needs to sharpen its responses to the challenges and opportunities as they manifest themselves at international, Union, national, regional, local and farm levels, it is necessary to streamline the governance of the CAP and improve its delivery on the Union objectives and to significantly decrease the administrative burden. The CAP should be based on delivery of performance (‘the delivery model’). Therefore, the Union should set the basic policy parameters, such as the objectives of the CAP and its basic requirements, while Member States should bear greater responsibility as to how they meet those objectives and achieve targets. Enhanced subsidiarity makes it possible to better take into account local conditions and needs and the particular nature of agricultural activity, which results from the social structure of agriculture and from structural and natural disparities between the various agricultural regions, tailoring the support to maximise the contribution to the achievement of Union objectives.
(4) Horizontal financial rules adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on the basis of Article 322 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) apply to this Regulation. Those rules are laid down in Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council (5) (the ‘Financial Regulation’) and determine in particular the procedure for establishing and implementing the budget through grants, procurement, prizes and indirect implementation, and provide for checks on the responsibility of financial actors. Rules adopted on the basis of Article 322 TFEU also include a general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget.
(5) Rules on measures linking the effectiveness of Union funds to sound economic governance, on territorial development and on the visibility of support from Union funds laid down in Regulation (EU) 2021/1060 of the European Parliament and of the Council (6) should also apply to support for rural development under this Regulation to ensure coherence with the Union funds concerned in relation to those aspects.
(6) Synergies between the EAFRD and Horizon Europe, established by Regulation (EU) 2021/695 of the European Parliament and of the Council (7), should encourage the EAFRD to make the best use of research and innovation results, in particular those stemming from projects funded by Horizon Europe and the European Innovation Partnership for agricultural productivity and sustainability (EIP), leading to innovations in the farming sector and rural areas.
(7) Given the importance of tackling the dramatic loss of biodiversity, support under this Regulation should contribute to mainstreaming biodiversity action in Union policies and to the achievement of the overall ambition of providing 7,5 % of annual spending under the multiannual financial framework (MFF) to biodiversity objectives in 2024 and 10 % of annual spending under the MFF to biodiversity objectives in 2026 and 2027.
(8) Member States should be given the flexibility to specify certain definitions and conditions in their CAP Strategic Plans. In order to ensure a common level playing field, a certain framework has, however, to be set at Union level constituting the necessary common elements to be included in those definitions and conditions (‘framework definitions’).
(9) In order to enhance the role of agriculture in providing public goods, it is necessary to establish an appropriate framework definition of ‘agricultural activity’. Moreover, in order to ensure that the Union can comply with its international obligations on domestic support as set out in the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, and in particular that the basic income support for sustainability and related types of intervention continue to be notified as ‘Green Box’ support which has no, or at most minimal, trade-distorting effects or effects on production, the framework definition of ‘agricultural activity’ should provide for both the production of agricultural products and the maintenance of the agricultural area, leaving the choice between those two types of activity to farmers. In order to adjust to local conditions, Member States should lay down the actual definition of ‘agricultural activity’ and the relevant conditions in their CAP Strategic Plans.
(10) In order to retain essential Union-wide elements to ensure comparability between Member State decisions, without however limiting Member States in reaching Union objectives, a framework definition of ‘agricultural area’ should be set out. The related framework definitions of ‘arable land’, ‘permanent crops’ and ‘permanent grassland’ should be set out in a broad way so as to allow Member States to further specify definitions according to their local conditions.
(11) The framework definition of ‘arable land’ should be laid down in such a way that it allows Member States to cover different production forms and that requires the inclusion of fallow land areas in order to ensure the decoupled nature of the interventions.
(12) The framework definition of ‘permanent crops’ should include both areas actually used for production and those that are not, as well as nurseries and short rotation coppice to be defined by Member States.
(13) The framework definition of ‘permanent grassland’ should be set in such a way that, in cases where grasses and other herbaceous forage remain predominant, it does not exclude other species that can be grazed. It should also enable Member States to specify further criteria and allow them to include species other than grasses or other herbaceous forage that may produce animal feed, whether used for actual production or not. This could encompass species of which parts of the plant, such as leaves, flowers, stems or fruits, can be grazed directly or when they fall to the ground. Member States should also be able to decide whether to limit the land where grasses and other herbaceous forage are not predominant or absent in grazing areas, including limiting it to land which forms part of established local practices.
(14) The framework definitions of ‘agricultural area’ should ensure that Member States cover agroforestry systems, where trees are grown in agricultural parcels on which agricultural activities are carried out to improve the sustainable use of the land.
(15) In order to ensure legal certainty that support is paid for an agricultural area which is at the farmer’s disposal and where an agricultural activity is exercised, a framework definition of ‘eligible hectare’ with the essential elements should be set out. In particular, Member States should set the conditions to determine whether the land is at the farmer’s disposal. Considering the likelihood of occasional and temporary use of agricultural land for an activity which is not strictly agricultural, and given the potential of certain non-agricultural activities to contribute to the income diversification of agricultural holdings, Member States should set appropriate conditions to include areas also used for non-agricultural activities as eligible hectares.
(16) In view of the high environmental ambition of the CAP, the eligible area should not be reduced as a result of the implementation of certain rules of conditionality and of the schemes for the climate, the environment and animal welfare (‘eco-schemes’) under direct payments. Agricultural areas should not become ineligible for direct payments when cultivated with non-agricultural products by way of paludiculture under

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT