Administrative checks: Formalised and automated checks carried out by paying agencies on all applications in order to verify eligibility and detect any irregularities.
Agricultural parcel: A continuous area of land, declared by one farmer, which includes no more than one crop group.
Agri-environment-climate measures: These are practices, undertaken voluntarily by farmers, over a set period. Support may be provided through Rural Development programmes. The practices bring environmental benefits and /or help to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The payments compensate farmers for the extra costs that they incur and the income that they forego when they undertake these practices. The practices must go beyond a number of obligations which apply to farmers in any case – including (but not limited to) cross-compliance and relevant national legislation. A given practice which is funded through the greening provisions of pillar I may not also be funded through an agri-environment-climate measure.
Basic Payment Scheme (BPS): Agricultural scheme operated on the basis of payment entitlements allocated to farmers in the first year of application of the scheme and activated each year by farmers.
CAP: Common Agricultural Policy
Cross‑compliance rules: A mechanism that obliges farmers, in order to receive the full amount of payments, to respect a set of basic rules on environmental, public and animal health, animal welfare and/or land management. Τhe rules on cross‑compliance consist of the statutory management requirements (SMR) under Union law and the standards for good agricultural and environmental condition of land (GAEC) established at national level.
Ecological focus area: Since 2015, every farmer in the European Union who claims a direct payment and has more than 15 hectares of arable land is obliged to have 5% of his arable land covered by ecological focus areas. These are areas which bring benefits for the environment, improve biodiversity and maintain attractive landscapes (such as landscape features, buffer strips, afforested areas, fallow land, areas with nitrogen-fixing crops etc.). Some exceptions to this general rule apply, for example to farmers who have more than 75% of their area under grassland. The obligation to have 5% of land covered by ecological focus areas may be increased to 7% subject to a European Commission report in 2017 and a legislative proposal from the Commission. This obligation is one of three ʽgreeningʼ measures of the CAP 2014-2020 - the others being the maintenance of permanent grassland and crop diversification.
Good agricultural and environmental conditions (GAECs): Standards of good agricultural and environmental condition of land aiming to contribute to preventing soil erosion, maintaining soil organic matter and structure, ensuring a minimum level of maintenance, avoiding the deterioration of habitats and protecting and managing water. These standards were introduced by the CAP legislation and are applicable only to CAP beneficiaries. They have to be defined by Member States taking account of local conditions.
Greening: The 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy introduced several instruments to promote environmental sustainability and combat climate change. These instruments comprise a green direct payment, enhanced cross-compliance obligations, an obligation to allocate 30% of the Rural Development budget to projects and measures that are beneficial for the environment and climate change (including voluntary agri-environment-climate measures), training measures and support from the farm advisory services.
Integrated administration and control system (IACS): This is an obligatory system used by member states for the management and control of payments made to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy, using advanced techniques to check parcels by aerial or satellite photography, and to cross-check farmersʼ claims with computer databases. Specifically, the integrated administration and control system ensures that payment irregularities are revealed and that queries are followed up. In this way, payments to farmers are made correctly and any amounts which have been unduly paid are recovered.
Land parcel identification system (LPIS): This computer database contains all agricultural areas that are eligible for a direct payment under the Common Agricultural Policy. It is used to cross-check the parcels for which payments have been claimed by the farmer. The land parcel identification system ensures that the farmer is paid for the correct area and that overpayment is avoided.
Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs): Statutory management requirements are a selected number of obligations incorporated in the scope of cross‑compliance rules from existing EU directives and regulations concerning environment, public health, plant health, animal health and animal welfare.
On‑the‑spot check: Verification carried out by the paying agency’s inspectors of the legality and regularity of area‑aid transactions, involving a visit to the applicant’s premises or a review of recent satellite images of parcels (i.e. remote sensing). Such checks are to be conducted systematically and on an annual basis on a certain sample of agricultural holdings.
Paying Agency: The body responsible within a Member State for the proper assessment, calculation, inspection and payment of CAP subsidies.