EID Amnesty Call Taken To Europe

22 February 2010
Scottish MEP Alyn Smith has today (Monday) pushed for an EID amnesty in the European Parliament's powerful Agriculture Committee.

Mr Smith has drafted an amendment to a report drafted by English MEP Richard Ashworth which he hopes will gain the support of colleagues and will be lodged on a cross party basis. The amendment calls for a three year amnesty period on cross-compliance penalties for EID.

Smith, a full member of the committee since 2007, also added another amendment to the report, stressing the need to ensure that flexibility is retained and enshrined in the implementation of the CAP in order for member states to tailor the regulations to their own varied criteria.

The Ashworth report seeks to reduce the administrative burdens of farmers: reducing the number and strength of inspections, reducing the amount of paperwork, reducing the penalties for minor infringements, and reducing unnecessary duplication.

Speaking after the debate, Smith said:

"The Ashworth report marks an important stage in the ongoing process to reduce the regulatory burden which our farmers must operate under.

"However, I could not let this chance pass without taking the opportunity to give the NFUS campaign to reduce the burdens on farmers implementing the sheep EID rules a further push forward.

"Trials of the technology have demonstrated that the tags have a long way to go in their development, and there will be teething problems. This is why I want to see a three year amnesty on cross compliance penalties to allow us the chance to get these problems sorted.

"I was encouraged by the wide consensus in the committee, particularly to reduce the unfair penalties that farmers face for minor infringements of the rules, and to eliminate unnecessary duplication of controls and paperwork.

"Hopefully the Commission will take this strong parliamentary feeling onboard in the run up to CAP reform and I particularly hope that they will implement our proposals on sheep EID.

"NFUS has launched a good campaign here and I am going to push this as far as I can."

Richard Ashworth's report is available at: www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/agri/pr/791/791433/791433en.pdf

Mr Smith's amendments are below:

33.a (new) Calls for an amnesty of three years on cross compliance penalties relating to electronic identification of sheep and goats, given that this is a new and complex technology and will require some time for farmers to become accustomed to and road-test; further calls on the Commission to conduct a through review of the regulation;

13. Considers that Member States should be allowed to reduce the inspection quota to a specific lower limit if they have a risk analysis framework that complies with Community law requirements;

13. Considers that Member States , or regional and local authorities as appropriate, should be allowed to reduce the inspection quota to a specific lower limit if they have a risk analysis framework that complies with Community law requirements;