A Statement Regarding the Thematic Working Group for Drafting a Strategic Plan for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas for the Programming Period 2021-2027 (05.08.19)

The Bulgarian Association of Owners of Agricultural land Owners (BAALO) declares its willingness to take part in the Thematic Working Group on the evolvement of a strategic plan for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas for the programming period 2021-2027.

BAALO expresses its concern regarding the inability of the Agricultural Sector in Bulgaria to meet the criteria laid down in DECREE No 142 of 7 June 2019 of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria, on the strategic planning and the programming documents of the Republic of Bulgaria for managing European Union funds for the programming period 2021 – 2027

We believe that a number of other key branch organisations in the agricultural sector will not be able to meet the requirements; BAALO will not be able to do so either. As regards the above mentioned, we ask that other non-profit legal entities be able to attend and formally participate in the meetings of the Thematic Working Group as observers, with the right to present opinions and give speeches, but without the right to vote.

There is also a normative prerequisite for this in Article 7, paragraph 7 of the CMD No142 of 2019, which reads as follows: “Chairmen of the working groups referred to in paragraph 1, may invite representatives from other departments and organisations directly affected by the implementation of the policies financed by the funds allocated for the programming period 2021 – 2027.”

We believe that the objectives set can only be achieved via an open and honest debate about the future of CAP with the participation of all stakeholders concerned. Namely, the state authority and the NGO sector in the agricultural industry to unite around the main national objectives and priorities, which to be enshrined in the new Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union for the period 2021 – 2027. Direct payments must be consistent with rural development. Smart, sustainable and diversified agriculture should be created alongside with care for the environment and climate to be envisioned. Last but not least, the socio-economic strengthening of rural areas should be considered as well.

Bulgaria’s priorities and the interests of the Bulgarian village and the farmer must be observed.

The proper programming of the new CAP (after 2020), concerns not only the private interest of farmers and owners of agricultural land, but also the public interest.