Simplification and implementation of the new EU Rural Development Programmes are top priorities in my two year mandate, new Chairwoman of Copa and Cogeca Rural Development Working Party Sofia Bjornsson said on her election. Ms Sofia Bjornsson is from the Swedish farm organisation LRF. She will be supported by two new Vice-Presidents Mr Jean-Lous Cazaubon (APCA) from France and Mr Leho Verk (ETKL) from Estonia.
“Most of the 118 Rural Development Programmes have now been approved but since many of them were adopted at the end of May, implementation in most countries will start late this year. We want to ensure that this is done efficiently and has the impact we want it to have. Another important demand is to simplify the policy and cut bureaucracy to improve uptake of the programmes. Despite the fact we called for simplification, the rules are more complicated than in the last programming period and extra information is required that could raise costs for farmers. We hope that things will change in order to ensure that the beneficiaries are still attracted to apply for the measures”, she insisted
She also underlined the importance of European rural networks activities and National Rural Networks in enhancing successful implementation of the Rural development policy . The launch the year of the ENRD thematic groups on Smart and Competitive Rural Area and Promoting the Transition to the Green Economy will play an important role in this process. Finally, she aims to make examine the future of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the second pillar to ensure that it is viable.