Final CAP debate before tomorrow's big vote

In advance of tomorrow's full Parliament vote on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy 2014 - 2020, the European Parliament has held a long and wide-ranging debate on the shape of Europe's farming and environmental policy for the next seven years.

Speaking in the debate, Alyn said:

"I'll be no exception in congratulating our rapporteur and our other colleagues for the way we have conducted ourselves through these discussions. I do think that the Agriculture Committee, and indeed our friends in the Commission, have done a really decent shift for our consumers, our citizens, our farmers and the environment as we have taken this dossier thus far.

"But lest we get too smug. Let's remember why we're having to make these reforms at all. We have a broken food supply chain within the European Union - we export our bad decisions to the developing world. We have much to do in remedying what is wrong with the far too long, far too complex, far too opaque food supply chain and these reforms go part of the way but we do still have much to do on this.

"In the time available I'll focus on rural development given I was shadow rapporteur for our group on that dossier. And there is, really, much to admire. 5% ring fenced for LEADER, a higher co-financing rate for agri-environment schemes - agri-environment schemes and organic schemes guaranteed a 25% ring fence of funding - support, crucially from our perspective, for advisory services to encourage local processing, short supply chains, better practices, quality schemes, community ownership even - better practices in the round to assist our farmers to modernise how they do things.

"From a Scottish perspective, LFA reform being parked for two years until we have adequate data to reform is hugely positive, with many other steps as well.

"However, we do have other caveats. In Article 20, the retirement scheme to get small farmers out of farming, we think is poor in principle. Articles 37, 38 and 40 on crop insurance and the income stabilisation tool we think is wrong in principle, dubious in law and potentially disastrous in its financial implications. The Americans have already made this mistake. We think that this could see vast amounts of rural development money essentially soaked up on commodity speculation without actually doing anything productive. We think this is a poor use of public money and it really is a deal breaker for our
group on what is otherwise a very positive dossier. I would urge colleagues to support the amendments to dump and bin these poorly thought out proposals now."

If you wish to watch the live coverage of tomorrow's vote, please see http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sed/video.do. The vote is scheduled for between 11am and 1pm in Scotland.