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CAP Money Debate Shows MEPs Standing Firm

Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has noted the adoption by the Committee of its opinion on the EU's budget for 2014-2020, and called for a strong defence of the CAP's budgets against attempts by the Commission and Council to cut it.

The opinion calls for a restoration of the cuts to direct payments and rural development made by the Commission's proposal, ensuring a real terms freeze in CAP spending until 2020, and warns that any further cuts by Member States to the overall EU budget should not affect agriculture spending.

Unfortunately, the committee failed to support an amendment which called for determining rural development support through objective criteria, not past performance - which would potentially condemn Scotland to continue to have the lowest share of Pillar II funds in the EU.

Alyn said:

"This may seem like technical number crunching - but the consequences could be significant for Scottish farmers.  The Commission's proposal calls for a 10% cut in real terms to direct payments over seven years to 2020, which will have a major impact on our upland livestock farmers and their dependence on the Single Farm Payment and other aids like LFA. We need to push back against this.  Investment in farming through the CAP doesn't just provide society with food security, but with a whole range of ancillary benefits, such as land management, export earnings, economic vitality in remote areas and employment in related industries: it is well worth the investment.

"Unfortunately it's only the Council - specifically the Heads of Government - who get the final say on the 2014-2020 budget, however, we will be making our case as strongly as possible."