Europe’s farm ministers have agreed on a negotiating position for the future Common Agricultural Policy which largely goes against the NFU’s call for a more “common” policy.
The NFU fears this could result in a high risk of competitive distortions among farmers.
NFU president Peter Kendall said that the outcome of last night’s negotiations on the Council of Ministers’ position for the future CAP was not great but that he was reassured by Defra’s intentions on greening.
“The industry has worked incredibly hard to raise its concerns with the Secretary of State over plans to reform the CAP. I am pleased that Mr Paterson’s understanding of Article 29 in the Council’s text on greening is the same as mine, that farmers will be able to access greening aid by undertaking, as part of a national scheme, the EU’s three greening options,” added Mr Kendall.
“We will continue to work closely with the Secretary of State and his Defra team to build a simple scheme which delivers our core objective of ensuring English farmers remain competitive and do not face more costly and demanding greening measures than other farmers within the EU.
“I am disappointed, however, that coupled support could be increased beyond current levels, that Member States would be allowed to deviate massively from the proposed flat rate payment system by 2019 and that those Member States who have bountiful rural development budgets would have the luxury of paying their farmers twice for doing the same environmental work.
The position agreed by farm ministers in Brussels will now form the basis for negotiation with the European Parliament, which adopted its position on CAP last week. Negotiations between the two institutions will commence on April 11 and the Irish presidency hopes to have reached a final compromise by the end of its presidency in June.
“The NFU will continue to work with the MEPs and representatives of the Council and Commission to continue the fight for a more common policy,” added Mr Kendall.