EU Legislation

This page contains an overview of the current EU legislation related to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP covers a whole ranges of topics including market measures and rural development. However, this page covers mainly the common rules for direct support schemes for farmers.

Direct Payments

Direct payments are payments granted directly to farmers to ensure them a safety net. They are mainly granted in the form of a basic income support, decoupled from production, stabilising their income stemming from sales on the markets, which are subject to volatility. In order to maximise their profits, producers must respond to market signals, so that they produce goods that are demanded by consumers. Direct payments also contribute, through greening, and in combination with cross compliance, to providing basic public goods.


Cross Compliance

Farmers who do not comply with certain requirements in the areas of public, animal and plant health, environment and animal welfare are subject to reductions of or exclusion from direct support. This system – called ‘cross-compliance’ – forms an integral part of EU support under direct payments.


Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS)

An important share of the taxpayer’s money financing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is administered by the Member States. This is the case of the direct aid channelled to farmers across the EU. In order to safeguard the financial interests of the EU ensuring that this direct aid is correctly allocated to the right farmers, Member States should operate since 1992 a system for the management and control of payments to farmers, the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS).



In order to accomodate all 27 member states the CAP legislation is relatively coarse grained. The result of this is that there are a number of issues which need clarification. This applies in particular to the more technical aspects of implementing IACS. To help with this the EU has drafted a number of guidance documents.

  • DSCG/2014/31 Guidance document (revised version after simplification) on the establishment of the EFA layer referred to in article 70(2) of Regulation (EU) 1306/2013
  • DSCG/2014/32 Year 2017 Guidance document (campaign 2017) for On-The-Spot Checks (OTSC) and area measurement according to articles 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 of Regulation (EU) 809/2014
  • DSCG/2014/33 Year 2017 Guidance document on the Land Parcels Identification System (LPIS) under articles 5, 9 and 10 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 640/2014
  • DSCG/2014/39 Guidance document (revised version after simplification) on aid applications and payment claims referred to in article 72 of Regulation (EU) 1306/2013
  • DS/EGDP/2015/02 Guidance document on the implementation by Member States of permanent grassland provisions in the context of greening
  • Draft CTS for 2018 The draft Common Technical Specifications for 2018 can be found under that link
  • DS-CDP-2015-08-FINAL Technical Guidance document on the On-The-Spot Check of Crop Diversification requirements
  • DS-CDP-2015-09-FINAL Technical Guidance document on the On-The-Spot Check of Ecological Focus Areas requirements