NFU Takes CAP Fight to European Parliament22 November 2012
UK - The National Farmers Union is stepping up its fight to ensure the EU’s next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) allows UK farmers to compete on a level playing field with the rest of Europe.
NFU President Peter Kendall, Deputy President Meurig Raymond and senior CAP advisor Gail Soutar have met with Europe’s leading MEPs in the European Parliament in Strasbourg as part of two days’ talks.
Mr Kendall said their overriding goal was to convince MEPs to drive a policy that was common in name and common in nature.
“As long as British farmers compete within the European single market, it is important that we remain part of a common policy framework for agriculture,” added Mr Kendall.
“But we are deeply concerned over UK government attempts to insert a tool into the reform package which would remove 20 per cent of farmers’ direct payments and push it into rural development funds. There would be few, if any, other member states that would make use of that tool, leaving UK farmers at a severe disadvantage.
“Current direct support levels in England and Wales are already below those of our main competitors in countries such as France, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands and this position must not be made worse. We are urging MEPs to overturn this measure.
“Related to this point we are asking MEPs to fight for a fairer allocation of EU money for our rural development schemes. The UK currently receives the lowest per hectare allocation of pillar two funds of all member states, which is an unacceptable position given the scale of our industry.”
Mr Kendall said the Commission’s proposals would also have to change if the CAP budget is reduced.
“The Commission’s proposals will have to be significantly amended. If the budget is reduced, it’s only right that the conditions and costs imposed on farmers should also be reduced. We need a reality check on what we demand from farmers. We need to help them become more competitive, not force them to be more inefficient.”
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