Farm leaders demand overhaul of EU red tape

Industry leaders are demanding an overhaul of EU regulation affecting farmers, ahead of the European Parliament elections on 4 June.

In a delegation to Brussels on Wednesday (15 April), representatives of the UK’s farming unions called on MEPs preparing for the election to deliver “better, more simple and more workable” legislation.

The unions’ manifesto, World Class Policies for World Class Farming, places special emphasis on the role of productive agriculture, protecting the environment, more research and development and increased action on supply chain issues.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: “Faced with the challenges of climate change and world population growth, the EU and the UK are particularly well placed to produce the extra food.

“We need MEPs to be proactive and recognise the importance of farming to meeting these challenges. Above all we want to see regulation that is more science-based.”

The unions are calling on Brussels regulation to be supported by thorough impact assessment before being rubber-stamped,

Mr Raymond said. “We need a common-sense approach – something that has been lacking in the sheep EID regulation, the increased scope of the IPPC pollution controls, and the Pesticides Directive.”

The manifesto also addresses issues of fairness within food supply chains and country of origin labelling.

Representatives from the NFU, the NFUS, NFU Cymru and the Ulster Farmers Union met about 60 MEPs in Brussels on Wednesday including Liz Lynne, Brian Simpson and Nigel Farage.

“At the moment the parliament is a sounding-board for the commission. But if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified the parliament will have direct influence on day-to-day policy, for example, the future of the Common Agricultural Policy post-2012. It will only become more influential,” said Mr Raymond.

The UK’s farming unions are urging their members to vote in the forthcoming EU parliamentary elections.

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