MARIANN FISCHER Boel started her visit to the Royal Show by launching a vigorous defence of the CAP and attacking its critics.
Although the EU commissioner for agriculture and rural development didn’t name Tony Blair directly, she used her keynote speech at the show on Sunday (July 3) to express her exasperation at those calling for EU funds to be moved wholesale away from agriculture.
“It’s good that European agriculture is making news – it’s a topic worthy of serious discussion. However, I must say I have the gravest concerns about some of the ideas around which much of this discussion is revolving.
“The EU institutions are now faced with a lack of agreement on an overall financial package from 2007 to 2013. We need a stable financial framework to implement CAP reform and to organise rural development programmes for 2007.
Ms Fischer Boel also seemed frustrated that the criticisms were being levelled so soon after the mid-term review. “It is essential to realise that, for farmers, this stable framework was guaranteed by heads of state and government in December 2002.
“All parties in the room fixed the budget ceiling of the CAP’s first pillar, direct payments and market measures, until 2013. I say again – all parties could have vetoed the agreement, none did.
“When voices call for a review before 2013 we are not talking about reopening a deal from decades ago over which there was a clear lack of consensus at the time. We are talking about ripping up a text, agreed by all, on which the ink is hardly dry.”