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SNP launch priorities for agriculture in Europe

KSG_AS-14.jpgThe SNP has today launched its agriculture priorities for Europe with a call for protected geographical status for Dunlop cheese.

Despite the SNP securing key achievements as part of the CAP reform process, Scotland’s farmers were subsequently handed the worst deal in Europe by Westminster. The nature of Scotland’s farmland saw the UK awarded an additional €223 million of EU funds to support farming in Scotland – but instead of passing these funds on to farmers in Scotland Westminster directed a large share of the funds to farmers outwith Scotland.

If Scotland was already an independent state, EU funding rules would have see Scotland benefit from a €1 billion bonus – money Scotland only loses out on because it is part of the UK.

As well as continuing to campaign these issues, the SNP has today pledged to back moves to rebalance the food supply chain, fight to reduce red tape and to improve revenues for the farming sector through encouraging greater protections when it comes to labelling.

Dunlop cheese is currently in the final stages of seeking Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status from the EU for its award-winning cheeses and the SNP’s Alyn Smith has pledged to do what he can to ensure that this status is achieved. PGI status helps to protect Scotland’s world class food products from imitation.

Commenting, SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:

“The last few years in Europe have seen huge changes for agriculture and new challenges for farmers.

KSG_AS-4.jpg“The SNP has fought for Scotland’s farming sector at every turn because we know just how important farming is to Scotland.

“We are today publishing some of our key priorities for progress in Europe when it comes to agriculture – areas where the SNP wants to see action such as ‘health checks’ to fix any emerging problems from CAP reform, a reduction in the red tape that farmers face and wider protections through labelling to improve revenues.

“The SNP has fought hard on behalf of Scotland’s farmers only to be let down by Westminster Governments more interested in posturing than protecting Scottish interests.”

SNP candidate Stephen Gethins added:

 “If Scotland was already an independent country, our farmers would have been entitled to a €1 billion bonus – money that Scotland is only denied by being part of the UK.

“That money would have made a huge difference to Scotland’s rural communities and is one of the clearest examples of why Scotland needs to be able to speak with our own voice in Europe and fight for our priorities.

“That is why we need a strong team of SNP MEPs and a Yes vote in September to achieve more for our farmers and make Scotland’s mark in Europe.”

A copy of the SNP’s agriculture priorities for Europe is available here.