Wholesale Reform Next for EU Agriculture

20 November 2008
Alyn Smith MEP, Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, has welcomed the agreement reached by EU Farm Ministers this morning (Thursday) on the Common Agricultural Policy ‘Healthcheck'.

After yesterday's vote in the European Parliament, this agreement rounds off the ‘Healthcheck' negotiations and paves the wave for wholesale reform with the opening of negotiations on the shape of the CAP post 2013.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Mr Smith said:

"The deal agreed today by EU Agriculture Ministers is, by and large, a good result for Scotland, particularly with regards to the Scottish Beef Calf Scheme (SBCS) and modulation rates. However, we need to continue to push Scotland's case far and wide as we lead up to the all-important wholesale CAP reforms post 2013. I continue to believe that full reform could see more effective support for farmers, alongside a more effective structural funds regime in the future.

"I'm glad to see the back of the Healthcheck which was only ever meant to be a tidying up exercise but seemed to grow more arms and legs as the discussions continued. Everything can now be focussed on the start of the reform of the CAP post 2013.

"Everything will be on the table and there are certainly areas that need a considerable overhaul. Decoupling needs to continue for the sheep and beef sectors, and I still want to see an end to progressive modulation. I am hopeful, too, that perhaps next time we can finally rid ourselves of the daft tobacco subsidy which was only just preserved on this occasion."