Saturday, 24 October 2009

FUW warns cutting CAP budget will threaten key goals

The Farmers' Union of Wales yesterday reacted angrily to a draft EU report suggesting CAP spending after 2013 will be significantly reduced.

According to AgraEurope magazine, the report reveals spending would be cut in order to free up spending for new EU priorities.

FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "The draft report outlines main priorities in the post-2013 financial period that include climate and energy security, and strengthening prosperity and security.

"Agriculture is a central to these key issues, and yet the draft proposals suggest a significant cut in the CAP budget.

"Any threat to the CAP budget will undermine the central role that farming must play in addressing these major challenges so to talk about such cuts while simultaneously outlining the importance of addressing these issues is simply ludicrous.

"The risks we now face in terms of food security and climate change, coupled with the challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, means that any threat to the CAP budget represents a threat to every EU citizen."

The report also suggests a further splitting of the budget by introducing a "third CAP Pillar" in order to address climate change issues.

"Between 1988 and 2013 the overall share of direct agricultural support in the EU budget will have fallen by almost a half, while we have seen a massive increase in the number of EU Member States," said Mr Vaughan.

"If a third pillar is to be introduced, then the CAP budget must be increased in a way that reflects that. The EU cannot just keep carving up an already diminished budget into smaller and smaller pieces and expect to address major problems such as climate change."

There is another suggestion that Member States might be given further freedom to "nationalise" agricultural spending.

"The UK already suffers disproportionately because of our historically low allocation in terms of Rural Development funding, and the national support mechanisms that exist in other member states," Mr Vaughan stressed.

"A further movement towards re-nationalisation of agricultural spending would undermine the whole principles that underpin the EU, and are likely to severely disadvantage Wales's rural communities."


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