Euro Rejection Of Voluntary Modulation Welcomed

14 February 2007
The only Scottish MEP to have a full place on the European Parliament's influential Agriculture committee has today (Wednesday) welcomed the decision by MEPs to overwhelmingly reject current plans on the "voluntary modulation" of single farm payments.

Addressing MEPs during the debate in Strasbourg on Tuesday the SNP Europe Spokesman Alyn Smith said:

"Voluntary modulation of agriculture payments is not voluntary at all for the farmers who lose out, only for the Member States who are fleecing their budget.

"The higher compulsory modulation match funded across the EU at least has some logic, but only the London Government would argue that Scotland's farmers should lose out by 20% against their continental colleagues and it is right that we reject this flawed proposal. If we do not reject it, we accept a poor proposal which has been brought before us today.

"But in so doing I would stress to our Commissioner that we need to see as much subsidiarity as possible in any eventual package that is brought forward.

"The Scottish Parliament is not yet a full Member State parliament, but it is responsible for agriculture and food matters in Scotland and it is right that the Scottish Parliament, whoever is in charge of it, should remain the relevant authority for these matters, because whoever is in charge of it will do a better job than the London Government will."

Speaking after the vote in Strasburg today Mr Smith added:

"I'm delighted that MEPs from across the EU have backed SNP calls to reject plans that would put Scottish farmers at a major competitive disadvantage. It is unfortunate that some Scottish MEPs did not do likewise, but let them justify their actions.

"There is still some way to go to ensure any alternative package works in Scotland's favour but I will do everything I can to make sure the voice of the Scot's industry is heard loud and clear on this issue."

Further Information

The final vote was as follows

Proposal rejected by 89 votes in favour to 584 against with 19 abstentionsLegislative resolution (confirming Parliament's rejection of the proposal) adopted by 572 votes in favour to 65 against with 16 abstentions