MEPs reject CAP budget cuts

Euro MPs have rejected proposals to slash spending on the Common Agricultural Policy by €500m (£442m).

At a meeting to discuss draft spending for 2012, MEPs on the agriculture committee rejected budget amendments by the European Council which called for cuts in the amount farmers across Europe were given in subsidies

The committee’s vote on Tuesday (30 August) means the original draft budget of €60.15bn (£53.29bn) will remain.

The Council had proposed to cut €80m for operational funds in the fruit and vegetable sector, as well as a €20m decrease in the aid budget.

Instead of making budget cuts, MEPs on the committee backed funding for a series of pilot projects, including a €1m initiative to improve the accuracy of EID reading and a €1m project to find solutions to reduce administrative burdens on farmers.

An NFU Brussels spokesman said that while there were few specific details, MEPs had come up with some interesting ideas for the 2012 budget.

“The electronic sheep tagging regulation came into force on 1 January 2010 but implementation problems and faulty technology has caused cross-compliance concerns for farmers across the UK,” he said.

“We would therefore be interested in the MEP project to improve EID technology to ensure better reading accuracy.

“Likewise, MEP efforts to set up an EU-wide food price observatory could help to identify how revenue is spread along the supply chain in order to create a fairer distribution of profits.”

The spokesman said the union was acutely aware of financial pressures across the EU and understood the significant pressures on the CAP budget.

“Whatever budget is agreed for 2012, we must ensure the money is spent on measures that help create a more efficient, sustainable and competitive agricultural sector,” he added.

The results of committee’s vote will be fed into the overall European Parliament response to the 2012 budget, which will be voted on by all MEPs next month.

Amendments have to be agreed by the Council, with the budget for 2012 set to be adopted by the Parliament in December.



CAP special