07 Jun 2016
NOT TIME TO CUT EU’S FARMING BUDGET – 06 JUNEBrussels Daily
MFF revision: This is no time to cut EU’s farming budget, Agriculture MEPs say
Revision of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 must not lead to any cuts in the funding of the Common agricultural policy (CAP) as it provides steady incomes for farmers and delivers public goods to EU citizens, Agriculture committee said on Monday. Members of the European Parliament want to use the MFF revision to deploy more funds to new market and crisis measures and proceed further with simplification of the CAP. They also reject attempts to renationalise agricultural policies.
The current instability in the agricultural markets and high price volatility clearly demonstrates the need to maintain farm subsidies as they allow market failures to be more effectively mitigated, Agriculture MEPs say in the opinion for the Budgets committee adopted with 31 votes to six, with five abstentions. Furthermore, European consumers are not ready to pay for their food at a price which would be undeniably higher if the public support for the agricultural sector was cut, they add.
The EU’s agricultural budget must be therefore maintained at least at the current size or even increased to ensure that the CAP continues to provide support for agricultural production, environmental programmes and economic activity in rural areas and meets society’s food demands, the Agriculture committee says. MEPs insist the CAP must continue to focus on supporting small-scale and family farming businesses as the cornerstone of agricultural production in the EU and keep the specific measures to support areas suffering from severe and permanent natural handicaps such as mountainous and outermost regions.
Provide funding for new market measures
As price volatility has significantly increased in recent years EU must rapidly establish new market and crisis management measures and provide sufficient budgetary resources to this end, says the adopted text. MEPs suggest establishment of a European agricultural insurance fund, which could be mobilised in times of crisis to inter alia reduce production volumes and thus stabilise prices. They also call for concrete measures to address the lack of access to credit for farmers.
No to renationalisation of the CAP and call for its further simplification
The committee is strongly against any renationalisation of agricultural policies and urges the Commission and the EU governments to do away with unequal implementation of the CAP as well as the differences in payment levels in the member states that has led to distortion of competition within the internal market.
MEPs also call for a practical implementation of the CAP and an acceleration of CAP simplification, which should take priority.
The Budgets committee is expected to vote its own-initiative report on the MFF 2014-2020 revision at its 27 June meeting. Plenary could then adopt Parliament’s recommendations during the July session in Strasbourg.
Monday, 06 June 2016
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
In the chair: Czesław Adam Siekierski (EPP, PL)