Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A disappointing result for CAP reform vote

So, after three and a half hours of voting through over 700 amendments and compromises MEPs on the Agriculture Committee this afternoon finally adopted their position on the Commission's proposed CAP health check. This was the report drafted by the Portuguese Socialist MEP Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos.

We lost many of our amendments and to be honest I was disappointed with the result not least because of all the efforts that had gone in from our side and the fact that this package of reforms was supposed to be about tidying up the 2003 reforms and making things much simpler for our farmers when the Committee seemed to go in the opposite direction in voting something through that actually complicates things more.

A number of our ideas were taken up and these include the decoupling of farm payments in the sheep, goat and beef sectors as a way in which to try and eliminate distortions of competition and to simplify the single payment scheme for farmers by including them in this scheme . We also sought to ensure that as compulsory modulation across the EU increases, voluntary modulation must be reduced so as to ensure a level playing field for Scotland’s farmers and that they are not at a competitive disadvantage compared to our European counterparts. And at the same time the level of rural development funding must not be lowered as a result.

Our amendments to make set aside a normal entitlement, thereby allowing farmers to produce for the market, got through as did our attempt to reduce the administrative and financial burden of cross compliance.

In the end all we could do was to give the Santos report a yellow card. We’ll have another chance at the report when it comes before the plenary in November so a lot can happen between now and then.

No comments: