Political posturing fails to impress as AGRI committee signs off CAP

Alyn Smith, Scottish full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has welcomed the committee's vote last night to throw out resolutions objecting to CAP implementing rules as providing much needed certainty for Scotland's farmers as to their payments and the rules governing those payments for the next seven years.

Resolutions designed to officially block the ten so-called delegated acts on CAP reform, including implementing rules on direct payments, cross compliance and rural development, brought forward by right-wing political groups, were thrown out with overwhelming majorities.

The vote means that national governments can now get on with fine-tuning the implementation of CAP before the official starting date of 1 January 2015.  Rejection of the delegated acts would have meant a delayed starting point for the new CAP, a desperate rush to write transitional rules to guarantee farmers payments for 2015, and more confusion as to the long term direction of agricultural policy in the EU.

Alyn said:

"At long last we have completed our work, and although not everything in the delegated acts is perfect, the very clear and strong message I received from farming communities back home was that my job was to get the politics done.  Our farmers and crofters deserve certainty and guarantees about their payments, and the conditions which go them, for the next seven years: rejecting the delegated acts would have plunged farming into chaos, with even next year's payments dependent on sharpish political action in Brussels during an election cycle.

"I'm not happy at all with the empty political posturing of some of my colleagues, designed more for cheap electioneering than for the long-term interests of their constituents: having put payments at risk through bringing forward objections to the delegated acts, many of them didn't even have the courage of their convictions to follow through and vote for them, having been bought off by last minute promises from the Commission!  European agriculture deserves better representation than this.

"I think we can live with the package on the table, especially with firm guarantees that as the details are implemented we can fix what isn't working.  My job isn't to posture and filibuster for the cameras, it's to achieve results for my constituents.  We've secured farm payments for the next seven years: I hope to be able to continue delivering in the next parliament."