Cross Compliance

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Policy background

The objective of Cross Compliance is to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture and making the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) more compatible with the expectations of society at large.

Cross compliance, firstly introduced on a voluntary basis in the Agenda 2000, was further developed in the 2003 CAP reform for all the Member States (art. 3-9, Council Regulation No 1782/2003, repealed by Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009).

Cross compliance creates a link between the full payment of support under the first pillar and under some rural development measures (second pillar) and wine sector payments.

The rules on cross-compliance shall consist of the statutory management requirements under Union law and the standards for good agricultural and environmental condition of land established at national level as listed in Annex II of the Council Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013, relating to the following areas:

  • (a) environment, climate change and good agricultural condition of land;
  • (b) public, animal and plant health;
  • (c) animal welfare.

Where a beneficiary does not comply with the rules on cross-compliance, an administrative penalty shall be imposed on that beneficiary (art. 91-101, Council Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013).

Beneficiaries concerned

Cross-compliance shall be applied by beneficiaries receiving:

  • direct payments;
  • payments for "Restructuring and conversion of vineyards" and "Green harvesting" in the wine sector;
  • annual premia for afforestation and creation of woodland, establishment of agroforestry systems, agri-environment-climate measures, organic farming, Natura 2000 and Water Framework Directive payments, payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints, animal welfare payments and Forest-environmental and climate services and forest conservation in the rural development programmes.

However, cross-compliance shall not apply to beneficiaries participating in the small farmers scheme as well as to the support for the conservation and for the sustainable use and development of genetic resources in agriculture provided by the rural development programmes.

Control and reduction regimes


Detailed rules for the implementation of cross compliance are established by Commission Implementing Regulation (EC) No 809/2014 of 17 july 2004 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No. 640/2014 of 11 March 2014.

Member States are required to carry out checks on cross-compliance to verify whether the farmer complies with the requirements and standards under cross-compliance. The checks may be administrative checks.

Member States are required to carry out on-the-spot checks on at least 1% of all farmers submitting aid application for direct payments for which the competent control authority is responsible.

The selection of the sample of farms to be controlled with on-the-spot checks shall be based on a risk analysis.

Reduction regime

Cross-compliance is not an eligibility condition for payments but triggers administrative penalties when not respected.

Administrative penalties will only be carried out if actions or omissions are directly attributable to the beneficiary concerned and where one, or both, of the following conditions are met (art. 91 Regulation 1306/2013):

  • the non-compliance relates to an agricultural activity of the beneficiary
  • the area of the holding of the beneficiary is concerned.

The reductions must take account of the severity, extent, permanence and repetition of the non-compliance found. Reductions leads to decrease of the overall aid amount granted to farmer for the year when the finding was made. The percentage of reduction for non-compliance that shall be applied depends if the non-compliance is due to negligence or intentionality (art. 38,39 and 40, Commission Delegated Regulation No. 640/2014).