NFU President Peter Kendall will travel to Luxembourg this week in a final round of lobbying to ensure our members’ views are heard at the top table during CAP negotiations.
He will join the Presidents of the other UK and European farm organisations, as expectations mount that CAP reform negotiations will enter their final, critical stages.
Mr Kendall said: “I am going to make sure that the MEPs and farm ministers, including the UK’s Owen Paterson, hear the concerns of our members loud and clear and that they go into the final stages of negotiations with the NFU’s priorities fresh in their minds.
“I am fighting for a simpler, more common policy. I want to see a CAP policy that reduces and eliminates competitive distortions and disadvantage on the EU’s common market, not exacerbate them. A policy which continues to allow farmers to make decision based on the market and that strengthens the position of farmers in the food chain.
“If we can achieve or take steps towards meeting these objectives, then this CAP reform may not yet be a complete failure.
“Of absolute critical importance to English farmers is ensuring that we are treated fairly both under the European framework, but also at home when it comes time for Defra to implement whatever is agreed for the next CAP.
“There are many priority issues for the NFU still to be resolved. I will use the time I get with negotiators next week to continue to oppose the transfer of any money from pillar one to pillar two and vice versa, but if there are to be any transfers then I want to see a “co-financing requirement” attached to those funds.
“I will strenuously resist powers for member states to gold-plate the greening rules and will seek to limit any penalties arising from a failure to implement the greening requirements as much as possible. I will also continue to fight for more proportionate penalties and risk-based inspections across the CAP.
“My opposition to increases in the levels of coupled aid permitted by member states and regions remains resolute, and I will continue to raise objections against the capping and degressivity proposals which would disproportionally disadvantage UK’s larger farm structures.
“It’s widely acceptable that sugar quotas will end, but the precise date is still to be decided. Of critical importance to our sugar beet growers are the contractual and negotiating conditions under which they will operate once it happens. While British Sugar remains as the sole sugar beet buyer in the UK, it’s really important we have safeguards to counterbalance their market power though a single collective negotiating agreement.
“For our dairy farmers, I will fight against any new supply management measures once the dairy quotas end in 2015.
“There are certainly a lot of really contentious and politically sensitive issues still to be dealt with this week. Whether negotiators will succeed in brokering a political agreement is yet to be seen. Some people have suggested that we must have a deal at all costs. I disagree, what’s far more important is that we achieve the right deal and that Defra then implements that fairly in England.”