Local governments demand a simpler CAP and review of EU rural development policy

A simpler more flexible Common Agricultural Policy will reduce the impact of the volatility of the market and revitalise rural economies, EU local and regional leaders have said.

In its report adopted today, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) welcomed EU plans to reduce the administrative burden of the CAP which it agrees could boost the sector and help redress rural-urban inequality. In a debate with EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, CoR members argued, however, that the introduction of a simpler CAP and the recent release of €500m emergency EU funding to aid farmers demonstrated that fundamental structural change was needed.

The CoR – the EU’s assembly of local and regional authorities – was reacting to EC proposals that aim to create a simpler CAP to support Europe’s agricultural sector at a time when many farmers have been hit by tumbling prices. Speaking in Brussels, the CoRs’ President, Markku Markkula, stated, “A simpler CAP that cuts red tape and helps rural economies is most welcome. Nevertheless, this proposal, together with the recent €500m emergency aid package for farmers, shows that more fundamental structural changes are needed. It’s time for a serious re-think and to review the future of the EU’s rural development policy”.

During the debate with local and regional leaders on the main challenges facing European agriculture today, EU Commissioner Hogan outlined the CAP plans arguing that it would save time and reduce costs for farmers, businesses and public authorities. “I want to make the CAP simpler for our hard-working farmers. And I believe we must take every possible step to allow farmers achieve their full business and job-creating potential,” said Commissioner Hogan in his speech to the Plenary.

A simpler more flexible Common Agricultural Policy will reduce the impact of the volatility of the market and revitalise rural economies EU local and regional leaders have said. In its report adopted today, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) welcomed EU plans to reduce the administrative burden of the CAP which it agrees could boost the sector and help redress rural-urban inequality. In a debate with EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, CoR members argued, however, that the introduction of a simpler CAP and the recent release of €500m emergency EU funding to aid farmers demonstrated that fundamental structural change was needed.

The CoR – the EU’s assembly of local and regional authorities – was reacting to EC proposals that aim to create a simpler CAP to support Europe’s agricultural sector at a time when many farmers have been hit by tumbling prices. Speaking in Brussels, the CoRs’ President, Markku Markkula, stated, “A simpler CAP that cuts red tape and helps rural economies is most welcome. Nevertheless, this proposal, together with the recent €500m emergency aid package for farmers, shows that more fundamental structural changes are needed. It’s time for a serious re-think and to review the future of the EU’s rural development policy”.

During the debate with local and regional leaders on the main challenges facing European agriculture today, EU Commissioner Hogan outlined the CAP plans arguing that it would save time and reduce costs for farmers, businesses and public authorities. “I want to make the CAP simpler for our hard-working farmers. And I believe we must take every possible step to allow farmers achieve their full business and job-creating potential,” said Commissioner Hogan in his speech to the Plenary

In its report penned by Anthony Buchanan, Councillor from East Renfrewshire Council in Scotland, the CoR argues that the future of EU rural development policy must be organised on a regional basis and be based on the objectives of fairness and territorial cohesion. “What is fundamentally important”, Cllr Buchanan highlighted, “is a simpler CAP which will more effectively allow sustainable job creation in rural areas and facilitate and support more young farmers who are the future of the industry.” He added that a long-term strategy to protect the agricultural industry should also give significantly greater support to ensure services and to halt the unacceptable depopulation of rural communities.

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