Don’t cut the CAP budget, find new resources, European Parliament Agriculture MEPs told Commissioner Oettinger
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) needs a reform but also a proper funding to deliver food security for EU citizens, many MEPs told Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger on Wednesday.
Most MEPs criticised the Commission for considering cuts in the Common Agricultural Policy’s budget under the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).
Recognising new EU priorities, such as defence, migration, research or fight against terrorism, Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR) stressed that “food security and food safety are also crucial”. Albert Dess (EPP, DE) warned that potential cuts could lead to “depleting” and “chipping away” the CAP as such.
James Nicholson (ECR, UK) insisted that the future CAP must not “suffer” and hinted that considering the budgetary impact of Brexit the proposed cuts seem “disproportionate and unacceptable”. Jan Huitema (ALDE, NL) recognised that some of current EU programmes might be “outdated” but insisted that before adding new priorities the EU must modernise old policies and called for a debate on the CAP reform before discussing its budget.
For Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez (GUE/NGL, ES), “in the present day context it is not acceptable to have any sort of cuts”, but she called for fairer redistribution of funding. EU needs new sources of income and CAP must be reformed but not re-nationalised, said Martin Häusling (Greens/EFA, DE) calling for “much more targeted” greening measures and a ceiling on direct payments for big players.
John Stuart Agnew (EFDD, UK) found Commission’s ideas on EU’s new own resources “extraordinarily bold” and burdensome for citizens. Philippe Loiseau (ENF, FR) on the other hand criticised the contemplated budget cuts for “dramatic impact” they might have on farmers, if implemented.
Many other MEPs stressed that the CAP must remain truly common, well-funded and strong policy that would continue to deliver safe and affordable food to EU citizens. Recent agricultural crisis and many new challenges farmers are now facing would justify budget increase, not cuts, several MEPs said and stressed that instead of proposing budget cuts, the Commission should be ambitious and find new funding resources.