Copa warns against having mid-term review of the CAP saying farmers still struggling with current reform package

Copa warned today at its praesidia held in Riga against having a mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) if it means re-opening the political agreement struck by the EU last year. Farmers need stability to enable them to plan ahead until 2020, EU farm leaders said.

The move comes in response to an announcement made by Farm Commissioner Hogan. Speaking in Riga where over 100 farm leaders from across the EU gathered, Copa President Albert Jan Maat said “We are against having a mid-term review of the CAP as many farmers are still struggling to get to grips with the current reform package agreed only last year. We need to make the CAP work. We nevertheless welcome Commissioner Hogans CAP simplification plans which the Latvian Presidency made a lot of progress on. We hope the Luxembourg Presidency will continue this action to cut red tape that strangles farmers”.

He continued “In particular, there is a serious risk that farmers in some member states will make errors in their CAP applications this year as they were not given fundamental information in time. We therefore make a strong call to the EU Commission and Council to extend this deadline beyond June 15 in those countries that need it like Italy. Advance payments must also be made in time, especially in regions hit hard by the Russian embargo.We also want the Commission to deal with the issue of permanent grassland under reform under simplification”

‘For instance, the Russian crisis has shown us that the Commission needs to do more in times of market disruptions in the same way that the Americans can intervene under the US farm bill. Article 222 must consequently be opened to enable this”

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen went on to welcome results from EU Farm Ministers informal meeting in Riga and the huge effort made by the Latvian Presidency to get workable rules on the EU organic farming review to enable the sector to carry on growing. The Latvian Farm Minister told farm leaders that he hopes to wrap the package up at Ministers meeting on June 16 after the release of a new compromise paper on Friday which should overcome issues like thresholds and controls.

Wrapping up, Mr Pesonen thanked our Latvian member organisations for hosting our praesidia in Riga and showing us the beautiful rural areas thanks to farming.

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