Agriculture Payments should be equal across EU
Posted, June 22, 2009 @ 00:00
Conservative MEP and Chairman of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Neil Parish has called on the EU to radically reform the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) to ensure that payments are the same for land in all EU countries.
Speaking ahead of the Council of Ministers meeting in Luxembourg today where EU Agriculture Ministers will have their first discussions on how the CAP will look after its next reform in 2013, Mr Parish urged Ministers to end the discrepancy between the amount of payment received per hectare of agricultural land. At present, countries that joined the EU in or after 2004 receive substantially less than than older member states such as France and Germany.
Greece receives over £400 per hectare of agricultural land whereas Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia all receive less than £100. The UK receives around £210 per hectare, substantially less than most other countries that were members of the EU prior to 2004.
Mr Parish said :-
"It is high time the EU started playing fair with the new countries in Eastern Europe. By the time the CAP is reformed again they will have been in the EU for nearly ten years. We can't bring them into a club and then say that we are not going to treat them the same as everyone else.
"The CAP should be common amongst all member states, only then will our farmers have a level playing field and only then can we ensure that member states who are doing especially well out of the CAP, such as France, do not do everything possible to stall any future reform.
"The CAP still needs to be seriously overhauled. Equalising payments would be a start, but the EU needs to go much further. Farmers need to be weaned off direct subsidies and given the best possible opportunity to compete in a global market."