Eager Anticipation Of Next Step In CAP Reform

17 November 2010
SNP MEP and member of the European Parliament's powerful Agriculture Committee, Alyn Smith, has today (Wednesday), in advance of tomorrow's presentation by the European Commission of their paper on the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), announced what he hopes to see included.
The paper that the Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos will present to MEPs tomorrow is the European Commission's official communication on the future of the CAP. This follows the leak of the paper last month, though it is anticipated that the paper released tomorrow will differ fairly markedly to the one that is already widely available.

Speaking from Brussels, Smith said:

"So far the Commission have been making the right noises, and the leaked paper that we saw last month was welcome in that it did proclaim the primary value of food security and active farming. I want to see any proposal coming from the Commission keeping this issue front and centre. Food security has to be seen as every bit as important as our national security, and we seem able to find enough money for guns and tanks and bombs.

"It is key that this paper does not try to do everything, therefore doing nothing. A very complicated paper will just result in very complicated paperwork for our farmers. If the sustainable production of food is our north star and all else follows from that, we will have a CAP that we can justify to the public at large and that works for our farmers and land managers too.

"And priorities matter, because we need to be very clear in what we seek to do, so we can be equally clear in bidding for future budget.

"The cost to the public purse of CAP has been a controversial topic for many years now, and it is not likely to disappear any time soon, but there is a general understanding that farmers should receive public support for growing food, managing the land, underpinning our rural economies, and providing public goods. We just need to be clear about what CAP is for and what it does. If it does everything - if everything is a priority - then nothing is. Keep food production central and I will be content."