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In order to receive payments, farmers shall respect a set of basic rules. Farmers not respecting EU law on environmental, public and animal health, animal welfare or land management will see the EU support they receive reduced.

These reductions are proportional to the extent, permanence, severity and repetition of the infringement specified. The Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform agreement of June 2013 carries forward the principle that there is a link through the cross-compliance (CC) system between receipt of CAP support by farmers and respect of a set of basic rules related to the main public expectations on environment, public and animal health, as well as, animal welfare. Introduced in 2003, cross-compliance covers direct payments, certain rural development and wine sector payments.

The CAP has regularly been adapted to respond to new challenges. The 2013 reform was being designed to achieve continued food security and safety in Europe, whilst also ensuring a sustainable use of land and maintaining natural resources, preventing climate change and addressing territorial challenges. In this framework, changes have also been introduced for cross-compliance by clarifying objectives, regrouping the legal base, simplification of cross-compliance scope and the enlargement of FAS.