SNP member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, Alyn Smith, has today been confirmed as lead negotiator for his group on the forthcoming review of the EU's Animal Health strategy.
The Report, to be drafted by Swedish MEP Marit Paulsen, will be produced by the Agriculture Committee over the coming months with Alyn representing his Group, and Scottish stakeholders, in the redraft of animal health legislation across the EU. Alyn is, in a voluntary capacity, Honorary Vice President of the Scottish SPCA.
The Agriculture Committee also, today, heard from the Lithuanian Minister for Agriculture, Mr Virgilijus Jukna, on the priorities of the Presidency. The animal health package will be high on their concerns, along with the final stages of the CAP Reform deal agreed in principle earlier this month. The Presidency confirmed they will not have any room for manoeuvre on the budgetary aspects of the CAP negotiations, provoking frustration from MEPs.
"Animal health and welfare is close to my heart, and Scotland has a great story to tell about just how good our standards are. Across the EU however, often the standards on paper and in reality have a considerable gap, and we need to see better enforcement of the existing rules, and clarity on where some member states are falling short.
"I'm delighted, also, to be working with Marit again, who was my opposite number on the Rural Development regulations - we have a good working relationship. Where I'm wary of any calls for new legislation given we see such patchy observance and enforcement across the EU as a whole, I'm confident she will be sensible and level-headed as she always has been, while still urging the EU to the highest standards.
"The Presidency presentation today was, to a point, useful in telling us where they are looking to go, but they have inherited such a thicket of work from the Irish Presidency I suspect they will have little capacity to make headway beyond the few issues they need to get tidied away, CAP Reform being the most burdensome. I wish them well in their efforts."