Farmers Call for Policy Reform to Respect 2013 Agreements18 February 2014
EU - In a high-level meeting with the Greek Presidency yesterday (17 February), Copa President Albert Jan Maat stressed that the EU must not go beyond the political deal on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform made last Summer when drawing up detailed rules to implement the new CAP.
Copa-Cogeca also highlighted this in a letter sent to the EU Commissioners Ciolos, Potocnik and Hedegaard.
In particular, Albert Jan Maat highlighted Copa-Cogeca's serious concerns on the greening sanctions, Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) and calculation of the greening payment under the CAP reform delegated acts.
“We are extremely worried that sanctions are disproportionate with the same sanction applied for both big or very small un-intentional errors. For active farmers, we believe that the delegated act should allow Member States enough flexibility to choose among the available criteria. With food demand on the rise, we also want to ensure that land is not taken out of production," he said.
Some MEPs stressed that there is a way to go in the delegated acts, for example, on definitions of active and young farmers, weighting factors for nitrogen fixing crops on so-called Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) and disproportional penalties with a lack of tolerance for not applying greening measures properly.
Copa-Cogeca meanwhile welcomes the Greek Presidency plans to have a discussion on the national implementation of the new CAP at national level with the Member States in the spring Council. “We need to ensure that implementation of the CAP, while taking into account the specificities in each Member State, is coherent within common EU principles," Albert Jan Maat said.
He also outlined Copa-Cogeca poisiton on plans to reform EU promotion policy stressing it plays a vital role in ensuring that European agricultural products are recognised both in Europe and worldwide. “We are pleased that promotion measures will focus on both domestic and external markets under the proposal. The proposal will also greatly simplify administrative procedures and reduce red tape for industry," Mr Maat said.
He went on to express serious concerns on the recent ban imposed by the Russian authorities on EU pork exports.
Faced with the phasing out of milk quotas in 2015, Albert Jan Maat highlighted the need to ensure that current tools to manage the market are fully utilised. Copa-Cogeca does not believe that there is currently a need to introduce additional tools in the milk sector.
Copa-Cogeca will also hold a seminar this Summer on implementation of the milk package. Copa-Cogeca believes priority should be given to implementation of the EU milk package which aims to strengthen contractual relations between farmers and processors and improve farmers' position, enabling them to get a better price for their milk.
Jan Albert Maat asked the Council to pay attention to the soft landing of the quota system. Worldwide there is a high demand of dairy products and at the same time European farmers have to pay a penalty.
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