MEPs urged not to slash CAP budgets

Euro MPs are being urged to reject plans to slash spending on the Common Agricultural Policy by €500m (£442m).

The European Parliament is set to discuss the draft budget for 2012 at a meeting on Tuesday (30 August).

The meeting will see MEPs debate amendments drawn up by the European Council, which called for cuts in the amount farmers across Europe are given in subsidies.

But an opinion drafted by Portugal MEP Luis Capoulas Santos said officials in the lead committee on budgets should reinstate the original amounts proposed for the payments.

Sr Santos said budgets put forward by the Committee on Agriculture & Rural Development were “more realistic” than the council’s, particularly given the current market instability across Europe.

The council’s estimations for how much it could claw back from Member States for breaches of farm rules and accounting errors was unrealistically high, he added.

In the same draft opinion, Sr Capoulas said plans to reduce the funds available for market-related spending was based on the “optimistic assumption” that agricultural prices would remain stable and largely high.

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 – both of which were expected to come under fire during Tuesday’s meeting.

Euro officials have until 5 September to draw up amendments to the draft budget.

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