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Wednesday 17 October 2018

'Riddled with loopholes' - MEPs warn draft laws will not deliver simpler and fairer CAP

MEP Matt Carthy
MEP Matt Carthy
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Draft EU laws on post-2020 EU farm policy as tabled by the EU Commission on June 1 lack ambition and a proper budgetary backing, Agriculture MEPs told Commissioner Phil Hogan Monday evening.

"I consider that my specific duty is to give our farmers certainty, stability and predictability that they both deserve and need", said Commissioner Phil Hogan as he presented what he called "an ambitious, balanced and realistic" legislative proposals for the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). "One of the biggest challenges (...) is the budget", he acknowledged.

But this was not enough for many MEPs who feared these draft laws will not deliver simpler and fairer, but above all truly common and well-funded EU farm policy after 2020.

"My fear is that [with the draft CAP laws as tabled by the EU Commission] we are going to get more bureaucracy”, said Albert Dess (EPP, DE). He also warned that these proposals could drive young farmers out of business and stressed that “we need to discuss number of things again and further”.

"This is not a balanced, it is not an ambitious, it is not realistic proposal”, said Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR).

He criticised substantial cuts to rural development programmes, lack of crisis management tools and denounced what he sees as "renationalisation of the Common Agricultural Policy".

The next CAP must “give farmers flexibility and tools to meet the challenges that lie ahead of them”, said James Nicholson (ECR, UK). Echoing comments made by Mr Dess he said that the Commission’s proposals might “be creating a monster of bureaucracy and red tape”.

He also criticised recurrent CAP budget cuts and trade deals that might, he said, drive certain farmers out of business.

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"I don’t know how [member states’ strategic plans and performance reports] is going to simplify things for farmers”, said Ulrike Müller (ALDE, DE).

She stressed that proper CAP budget is essential, called for beefing-up CAP advisory services and asked how is the Commission “going to prevent divisions of holdings” when enforcing capping of direct payments.

"The only way that we can adequately address [farmers’ support] inequality is by putting an upper limit cap on payments that can be received”, said Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL, IE) noting that 80pc of EU direct payments go now to 20pc of farmers.

"Fairer payments should be prioritised, he stressed and said the Commission’s "proposal [on capping of direct payments] is riddled with loopholes.”

While "our environment is suffering from the [current] CAP, people that are employed in the sector are suffering", the Commission’s proposal “is business as usual”, said Martin Häusling (Greens/EFA, DE).

"Do you really think that these member states in their plans are going to be ambitious in their environmental protection?" he asked and criticised the Commission for not specifying environmental measures at EU level".

John Stuart Agnew (EFDD, UK) criticised proposals on reducing greenhouse gas emissions for being impracticable. "How will the outcome be actually measuresd?” he asked and insisted that farmers cannot influence the main drivers of climate change.

The Commission’s proposals will bring "more administration” and will make “farmers disappear one after another", said Philippe Loiseau (ENF, FR).

"I don’t believe in that [draft laws will deliver simplification] at all”, he said. He also criticised the Commission for not addressing some issues, such as speculations, and added that “farmers are not going to be happy with these proposals."


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