1 November 1996

MEPs rural charter…

EURO-MPs are calling for further CAP reform to integrate farming and rural development policy.

The MEPs, who have developed a rural charter which they want adopted by the EU, say an integrated rural development policy should focus on creating jobs both inside and outside agriculture, as farming alone cannot maintain that.

They say EU agriculture should no longer be seen solely as a means of production and a rural policy must combine elements of agricultural, social, regional, energy and environmental policies.

A fresh CAP reform should ensure less funding for market measures and release resources to promote economic development in rural areas. They also want direct farm support to be tied to quality control, animal welfare and environmental protection.

The MEPs rural charter will form the basis of the EU Parliaments submission to a conference on rural affairs in Cork next week.

which will be chaired by Lord Plumb, leader of the Conservative Euro-MPs.

Welcoming the conference Lord Plumb said it would "launch an important debate on the vision we have for the future of diverse rural areas in Europe". And he added that Europe "must now focus and concentrate on rural development in the broadest sense".

But Irish MEP Alan Gillis questioned the need for further CAP reform. Without long-term guarantees he warned that further moves to adapt agriculture to the market-place usually meant lower prices and increased (???) for people in rural areas.