A strong Common Agricultural Policy is more essential than ever to ensure farmers can produce sustainable and stable food supplies, EU farm leaders have agreed.
Outlining its position on the future of the CAP on Wednesday (5 May), EU farmers’ group COPA-COGECA said direct payments must be maintained to help farmers deal with poor market conditions and market volatility.
Without direct support, they would not be able to continue to provide “huge public benefits” such as producing food, maintaining the environment and managing the countryside.
Padraig Walsh, COPA president, said adjustments to the CAP post-2013 should focus on increasing market stability and making farming more profitable.
To do this the EU needed new tools to deal with volatility as well as a revamped policy to allow farmers to become more competitive, adapt to climate change and be incentivised to provide more rural services.
“We need financial solidarity based on an adequate budget with fair and equal treatment of all farmers,” Mr Walsh added.
“We definitely do no want to see any further renationalisation of the CAP or any increase in co-financing which would lead to distortions of competition and undermine the single market.”
The move came after the NFU launched its vision paper on the future of the CAP in Brussels on Tuesday (4 May),
NFU president Peter Kendall said CAP policy must support sustainable food production and resist putting too much emphasis on the environment.
He said farmers wanted to be less reliant on CAP support, but the functioning of the market needed to be addressed to make sure farmers received a fair price for their produce.
Rural development (Pillar 2) funding needed to be simplified, he added.
“Rural development programmes should be playing an important part in the process of structural adjustment.
“But they have lost their way, becoming a dumping ground for a range of policy objectives and tied up in bureaucracy.”