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Scottish Farmers Joins Brussels Budget Rally

NFU Scotland has joined other farming delegations in Brussels today (Wednesday, 6 February) as European farmers deliver a united message to heads of state ahead of their discussions on a European budget.

NFUS Vice President Allan Bowie and Vice President Elect Rob Livesey have met with 400 leaders from other farming organisations and signed a joint statement demanding that a fully supported Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) emerge from talks on the EU budget 2014-2020, which start tomorrow (Thursday, 8 February).

The 27 European leaders failed to conclude talks on the European budget or Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) when they met last November and negotiations will restart on Thursday on the basis of the last paper tabled at the November 2012 meeting. That paper looked to decrease the EU budget over the next 7 years by €80 billion, including a significant cut to Pillar One of the CAP (which covers direct support payments to farmers) and to Pillar Two funds (that covers rural development).

It also included provisions to allow member states to transfer 15 percent of their single farm payment (SFP) funds to rural development without any obligation to co-finance and an option to put a cap on larger farm payments. The controversial and unpopular requirement for a mandatory 30 percent greening component within the SFP is also reiterated within the paper.

If the budgetary talks are concluded this week, many important aspects pertaining to the ongoing reform of the CAP will be clarified. Agreement this week is especially important to allow the necessary time for the Irish Presidency to conclude negotiations on the future CAP and find a political agreement by the end of June, when its Presidency ends.  

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Bowie said:
"The message to heads of state is clear - this isn't simply about securing a budgetary deal at any cost.  It is about securing a budget settlement that, through the Common Agricultural Policy, protects and preserves Europe's ability to produce food for more than 500 million consumers, generates significant economic activity whilst continuing to protect and preserve the environment.  

"For more than 50 years, CAP has delivered and it is inherent on those negotiating budgets that half a century of excellent work is not undone by unjustified budgetary cuts agreed in the next few days.

"A strong, robust budget for CAP is fundamental to progress being made in securing a reform agreement under the Irish presidency.  Significant funding cuts will severely impinge on progress in this area."  

Mr Livesey added:
“At this stage, it's all about securing the best possible overall CAP budget within the new EU budget.  All the issues about UK's share and Scotland's share within that are the steps that will quickly follow.

“With leading UK, Scottish and European politicians all set to grace NFU Scotland’s AGM at St Andrews next week, decisions taken on budgets in the next few days will undoubtedly fuel debate.  By then, we will have a much better handle on any budgetary impact on direct support for Scottish farm businesses or for our future rural development plans.”

Notes to Editors

  • Umbrella organisation COPA-COGECA is hosting a high-level Conference for EU farming and agri-cooperative bodies in Brussels today (Wednesday 6 February) to press for a strong Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with a good budget behind it.  NFU Scotland is represented.
  • NFU Scotland’s Centenary AGM and Dinner will be held at the Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews on February 11 and 12. The line up of political speakers scheduled to address the event includes Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson; Scottish Secretary of State Michael Moore, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead and Scottish MEP Alyn Smith.  Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond will address a drinks reception, sponsored by Tennents.  Media are welcome to attend.

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 12/13


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