European politicians have lodged 7,000 amendments to Common Agricultural Policy reform proposals.
The revelation casts further doubt on whether Brussels’ aim of a simpler, cheaper, greener policy can be achieved by the proposed start date of 1 January 2014.
The reform proposals were first published by EU commissioners back in November 2011. Since then member states have taken away the details and discussed them within their own administrations.
But the result is the tabling of a plethora of amendments that reflects each country’s attempt to make the original draft fit its distinct social, economic and geographical needs.
- Direct payments legislative proposals: 2,292
- Rural development proposals: 2,127
- Single market proposals: 2,094
- Finance and cross-compliance proposals: 769
UK politicians have been shocked by the scale of the requested changes. Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, George Lyon, said the number of amendments was “unbelievable”.
“That is the equivalent of a complete rewrite of the proposals many times over and demonstrates the huge interest there is in the reform from members right across the parliament.”
Previously tabled sets of amendments amounted to 1,200-1,300, Mr Lyon said.
“We had to work extremely hard to cope with 1,200-1,300, but the task of sorting 7,000 out is of a whole different scale and magnitude.
“The deadline set for the amendments to be negotiated and voted on is the end of November, which only gives us 12 weeks to turn the 7,000 in to a sensible set of compromises that will deliver for farmers,” he said.
“There is a huge danger that we could end up with an incomprehensible muddle if we are not careful. It will therefore be essential for the key negotiators from each of the main political groups to work closely together to separate the wheat from the chaff and agree on sensible compromises that will work for farmers across the UK,” Mr Lyon added.
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