CEJA President Jannes Maes addressed the informal meeting of agriculture ministers in Schloss Hof, Austria, today on the subject of shaping the future of vital rural areas and quality food production in the European Union.

“If young people feel that they cannot make an adequate living as farmers, they will not remain in the sector. The youth in rural areas need to have opportunities if they are to stay in the countryside and work and live there. Without them the vitality of rural areas would suffer and their depopulation would be accelerated,” Mr Maes said.

A stable and competitive income for young farmers is at the heart of ensuring vitality in rural areas. The role of the EU is therefore to support young farmers through more ambitious measures in the future CAP.

CEJA believes that it is necessary to ring-fence more than 2% of the funds in Pillar I for young farmers. A strong definition for active farmer will also allow for a better redistribution of direct payments to those who truly need it.

CEJA emphasises the need for a collective approach at EU-level so that rural communities can benefit from the same support regardless of location.

Young farmers need the right incentives to invest in their future. They must be sufficiently supported in pursuing these endeavours in the CAP post-2020. This will, in turn, feed into the vitality, dynamism and cultural preservation of the countryside.


CEJA represents the political interests of around two million young farmers from across Europe. Its main objectives are to facilitate the installation of young farmers, to inform and to train them as well as act as a forum for communication and dialogue between them.

For further information: Fiona Lally, Communications Officer, Tel: +32 (0)2 230 4210 / Email: pressofficer@ceja.eu / Website: www.ceja.eu