The 43rd Conference of Directors of Paying Agencies in the EU held between 23 and 25 May in the National Palace of Culture, which was hosted by the State Fund Agriculture – Paying Agency, went successfully. The event, which was part of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, was opened by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Rumen Porozhanov. He stressed that the Paying Agencies have an extremely important role in assessing and re-defining the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as its day-to-day management is in their hands. “The experts from the Paying Agencies are the people who best understand and realize the scale of expenses and the administrative burden which is generated in the CAP implementation.
They must be alert as to the cost effectiveness”, underlined Porozhanov.
“2018 is the year when not only should we analyze and discuss, but also plan correctly where we want to be in 10 years. Now is the time when we should delve into the expert discussions in order to achieve the desired development. To this end, we should lean on our expertise, experience and innovation. This was stated by the Executive Director of SFA-Paying Agency Zhivko Zhivkov.
The main topics which triggered discussions among the delegates were the reasonableness of costs, the possibilities for automation for non-IACS measures and the application of the monitoring approach for the present CAP. The challenges before the CAP post 2020 were discussed too. These elements form part of the policy toolkit through which the paying agencies monitor the correct spending of the funds both from the national budgets and the EU’s one.
The presentations delivered by representatives of the EC sparked an interest too as they concerned the proposals for the new delivery model of the Multiannual Financial Framework in the next programming period post 2020. They revolve around the reform and simplification of the CAP and the agricultural budget decreased by 5 %, whose first draft was announced at the beginning of May. EC declared the need for modernization and simplification of the CAP in view of its putting into compliance with the new technologies, climate changes and environment. The Director of Directorate “Level of assurance and audit” in the EC Christina Borchmann stressed that the Paying Agencies alone will set the criteria under which they will work in the next programming period. First, however, each country - member state needs to develop its own strategic plan, based on needs for financial support under the first and second pillar of the CAP, which should reach certain goals. This means that there will be greater freedom, but also greater responsibilities. In order for the costs to be simplified, the compatibility of the information systems of the public bodies should be improved, the legal framework should be simplified and clear parameters of performance indicators should be created, said also Christina Borchmann.
Within the margins of the Conference of Directors of the Paying Agencies from the EU three workshops were conducted. Each workshop treated a separate, current topic from the CAP field. The first workshop was dedicated to the IT instruments for automation of non-IACS based measures. The workshop was chaired by members of the Portuguese and Estonian delegations, and was coordinated from Bulgarian delegates. The second workshop chaired by Lithuanian delegates focused on simplified cost options and reasonableness of costs. A presentation concerning the Austrian experience on this topic was also delivered. The third workshop chaired by Mr. Larry Cashman from the Irish Paying Agency focused on the practical use of the monitoring approach. The delegates united around the opinion that they should continue discussing and commenting together as regards the introduction of the new financial and legislative framework of CAP post 2020. The participants took account of the extremely successful completion of the event and thanked for the hospitality.
The Executive Director of State Fund Agriculture Zhivko Zhivkov handed over the gavel to the Director of the Austrian Paying Agency Guenther Griesmayer – a symbol of the rotational hosting of the event. The ceremonial act took place upon closure of the event. Moderator of the conference was the Deputy Executive Director of State Fund Agriculture Atidzhe Alieva-Veli. All directors of similar bodies from all over the European Union were present at the conference and from the countries waiting for EU accession – Montenegro, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Representatives from the European Commission and the European Court of Auditors were also present at the event.
25 May 2018 State Fund Agriculture – Paying Agency