NFU reacts to CAP reduction and cuts to EU’s long term budget
NewsMonday 11 February 2013
For the first time in history the Heads of Government have agreed to cut the EU’s long term budget for 2014-20, which will see the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reduced.
In the wake of these decisions, the NFU has offered its reaction.
This new deal has opened the way to an agreement on CAP Reform, which the Irish Presidency hopes to conclude in June. The NFU stated that it is important that the UK and its members are treated fairly in both budgetary terms and in terms of the ‘greening’ conditions that are imposed on them.
The NFU President Peter Kendall said: “The NFU has consistently stated that it would be unrealistic to expect the CAP could be exempt from cuts, when all public expenditure across Europe is under pressure. The important thing for us is to ensure that the UK is treated fairly and equitably.
“The Heads of Government have introduced some improvements in the Commission’s proposals as they affect agricultural spending. For example, they have agreed that ‘greening’ of the CAP will not require land to be taken out of production and that ‘capping’ of the payments to larger farmers will be voluntary at Member State level.”
The NFU also said that it is now important that neither the overall budget figures, nor the detailed points of the agreement, are unpicked by the European Parliament.
Mr Kendall continued: “A regrettable part of the budgetary deal is the confirmation that Member States or regions can move up to 15 per cent of their Pillar 1 (single farm payment) budget to Pillar 2 (rural development) without any obligation for national treasuries to matchfund; and all Member States can move 15 per cent and some up to 25 per cent in the other direction. For the NFU, there is no justification for Defra to move money from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2. The ‘greening’ of the first Pillar reduces the need for spending in Pillar 2. Furthermore, to reduce our farmers’ payments, which are already well below the EU average, and at a time when others may increase theirs, would be to compound an already unfair situation.
“In terms of greening, English farmers must be given a choice of measures and must not face higher conditions than others in Europe. Some will qualify for the greening payment through membership of environmental stewardship schemes; others must have the choice of complying with common European measures.”
Picture: Eamon Curry