Scots MEP and member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has warmly welcomed the appointment of Irish politician Phil Hogan as the new European Commissioner-Designate for Agriculture.
Commissioner-Designate Hogan will now face questions from the Parliament's Agriculture Committee and a vote by the full Parliament before he can be confirmed as the new Commissioner. This hearing is expected to be held at the end of September or beginning of October, with the full parliamentary vote taking place during the week of 20th October.
"I congratulate Phil on his appointment and applaud Mr Juncker for his good sense in selecting an experienced and knowledgable politician for this important role. Irish and Scottish agriculture share many similarities and having a Commissioner in place who recognises the specific difficulties we face is very welcome.
"This appointment underlines just how much Scotland has to gain from taking its place as an independent nation within the EU. Not only has Ireland been allocated this role, but other small northern European countries have got top jobs: Sweden will lead EU trade negotiations and Finland the push for jobs and growth.
"In the most recent CAP negotiations Scotland was negotiated right to the bottom of the funding league tables for both direct farm payments and rural development funding. The EU's convergence process for farm payments would have meant an already independent Scotland would have received - by 2019 - the standard minimum payment of €196 euros per hectare – resulting in an additional €1 billion of farm payments coming to Scotland between now and then. For rural development payments – if Scotland been independent and we had negotiated as well as Ireland did, for example – Scotland would have received an extra €2.5 billion of funding.
"Put simply, we could not have done any worse thanks to the efforts of Westminster politicians.
"Our own Commissioner, double our current number of MEPs, our own voice at the top table arguing for nothing other than Scotland's best interests - Scottish farming would do better. Indeed, it can't do worse!"
EU CAP funding league tables are set out in the publication “Scotland’s Future and Scottish Farming” which is available here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0043/00439271.pdf