CAP Direct Payments: CAP post-2013 must help sustain the future of European agriculture. Mairead McGuinness MEP
Describing the proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy post-2013 as "the most challenging for the EU", Mairead McGuinness MEP highlighted the need to secure the long-term sustainability of agriculture.
As EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur for the 'Direct Payments' Report contained within the legislative package, Mrs McGuinness warned that the redistribution of payments between Member States and between farmers within each Member State must be handled sensitively. "Direct payments provide income support to farmers in times of massive price and income volatility. These supports have a very important impact in every part of the EU and ensure that agricultural activity is maintained, especially in disadvantaged regions."
"This week, we begin in earnest a detailed assessment of the Commission's proposals, with a view to ensuring that all of the challenges facing agriculture and food production are addressed."
McGuinness stressed that the discussions must run in parallel with the budget negotiations post-2014. "I am concerned that the Commission in its document has warned farmers that they cannot rely on support conditions remaining unchanged because of economic development or the budgetary situation", she said.
"These reforms cannot be reduced to who wins and who loses - be it at Member State or farm level, they must be focused on providing the best way forward for the agriculture sector, conscious of the importance of food security and the challenge of producing more from less in the future."
She said that the system of direct payments differs between Member States and these differences must be taken into account in the reform process. "Member States must be given the necessary flexibility and timeframe to adopt the measures. Legal definitions of what constitutes an active farmer must be carefully scrutinised, as must the impact of proposed greening measures at farm level", Mrs McGuinness added.
For further information:
Mairead McGuinness MEP, Tel: +32-2-2845214
Cliona Connolly, EPP Group Press and Communications Service, Tel: +32-475-957874
Notes to Editors:
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 264 Members.