03 February 1999
Get us a fair deal in Europe, Nick — NFU

By FWi staff

AGRICULTURE Minister Nick Brown was urged to win a fair deal in Europe for Britains farmers at the annual conference of the National Farmers Union (NFU) today (Wednesday).

Mr Brown, who addressed conference delegates this morning, was handed a copy of an NFU document called What we need for a fair deal for Britains farmers in Europe.

The document was launched yesterday by NFU president Ben Gill as the countdown to an agreement on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) begins.

Agricultural ministers from individual European member states have until March to agree on the way forward for farm subsidy reform.

The NFU is calling for a common system of support throughout Europe which does not disadvantage farmers from any country.

It also wants any conditions attached to farm subsidy payments to be the same throughout Europe, with equal treatment whatever the size of the farm.

British farms are much larger than their Continental counterparts, and the NFU fears that any policy which favours smaller holdings could disadvantage British producers.

Speaking before European Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fishler yesterday, NFU President Ben Gill stressed the need for equal treatment of all farmers.

“We will not rest until we can be assured of a fair deal for Britains farmers in Europe,” said Mr Gill.

“Our priorities are laid plain in this document and we deserve no less than a fair hearing.

“The decisions made over the coming months will have far-reaching implications for European agriculture for many years to come.

“Change is always challenging but there is also so much to be gained if the right formula can be reached.

“The NFUs goal to ensure a prosperous future for as many farmers and their families in agriculture as possible each earning a decent standard of living.”