Vote to move forward position on CAP
Published:  28 January, 2013

Members of the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee have voted to move forward a draft position on the future of CAP.

According to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) such a vote shows that the organisation’s lobbying is helping to shape a policy that will be better for British agriculture.

Following the vote, a draft position will move to a full EU Parliament plenary session, which is due to take place in the middle of March this year.

Deputy president of NFU England and Wales Meurig Raymond explained that the NFU had worked with MEPs for several months to ensure the voice of its members was heard in the European Parliament. He said: “The NFU was deeply disappointed with the Commission’s proposals when they were issued almost 18 months ago, but this week’s vote has brought about significant improvement in many areas, removing some of the worst excesses of unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape from the proposals.

“For example, we lobbied against the distorting economic active farmer test which would have meant every farmer in the country having to disclose their non-agricultural receipts to qualify for CAP payments.”

Raymond added that the NFU asked MEPs to make the greening proposals more workable and to ensure the efforts of farmers in agri-environment schemes was taken into account. He also said that changes to the way entitlements would operate in the future CAP, as well as a properly functioning national reserve, had also been asked for.

Despite the positive outcome of many of the NFU’s requests, Raymond said MEPs had taken a “backwards” step and increased the “potential scope for coupled support payments, which will result in market distortions if not closely controlled by the Commission”.

Raymond said: “The NFU will continue to work very closely with MEPs in the coming months to ensure that what progress has been made, remains. We will also continue to make sure that the objections of farmers are heard on some of the more negative areas of this week’s COM AGRI vote.”