EU Agriculture Reform Starts in Earnest

04 November 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has taken part in a joint session of the European Parliament and all EU member state Parliaments to discuss the future of EU Agriculture.

The two day meeting took place in Brussels and involved representatives from the relevant committees of 27 member state Parliaments and Governments as well as MEPs from the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee. Smith outlined his thinking on the future of the CAP as well as his view that the EU should adopt a much more robust approach to dealing with the WTO on Agricultural matters, and was delighted to rekindle the Old Alliance between France and Scotland, receiving particularly warm support from the French AssemblĂŠe Nationale delegation.

Speaking after the session concluded, Smith said:

"This joint session underlines just how much is on the table as we look towards reforming the EU's Agriculture. Everything is on the table, and I think we will see a few sacred cows being slaughtered as these discussions progress.

"I have been working with the Scottish government on the SNP's vision for EU agriculture, and floated a few ideas in the session and was pleased that the representatives gave them such a warm response. I will be working them up into a more substantive proposal in the coming weeks, but will keep to my pole star that farmers are in business to make quality local food people want to eat, and all else is secondary.

"The recent collapse of the WTO talks underlines that we need to take a far more robust approach in whatever successor round emerges from the Doha debris. For my part I think that the EU need not be so uniquely sensitive over agricultural issues when it is quite clear no other global region is. I am firmly of the view that European farming has nothing to lose and nothing to fear from opening the EU market to our ACP colleagues, and further that there need be no reciprocity as it is quite clear their producers cannot compete with ours.

"We even managed a bit of craic with the French representatives, so much so that the Polish member talked about "joining the Franco-Scottish Alliance" to promote our producers. It is clear that the Scottish thinking chimes with the European mainstream, while the UK is, as usual, in the room but howling at the moon."