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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

EU: Copa-Cogeca - Maintaining direct aid essential

Leaders of European agricultural and cooperative organisations (Copa and Cogeca) adopted a position, on 4 May, in favour of a “strong post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)” which, according to them, “will be more essential than ever”. “Few priorities can be more important for European citizens than the security, safety and stability of the provision of foodstuffs produced in a sustainable manner,” said Padraig Walshe, Copa president. Agricultural leaders say they are strongly opposed to any renationalisation of the CAP and any additional co-financing which, they specify, “would lead to distortions of competition and would risk undermining the single market”. They declare themselves in favour of maintaining direct aid while remaining very vague on the thorny issue of its future allocation between and within member states. In particular, they demand the abolition of modulation (the transfer of part of this payment to rural development) and the maintenance of the possibility for member states to transfer part of this payment to help vulnerable sectors or regions, but in limited proportions in order to avoid distortions of competition. It is also necessary, they consider, to guarantee that it is active farmers who benefit from this direct aid and not landowners who do not undertake agricultural activity. They underline that this direct aid, which on average represents two-thirds of producer income, allows farmers to provide a range of public benefits in the framework of their activity, which are appreciated by society and not paid by the market. Particular reference is made to employment and the economic viability of rural areas, the maintenance of attractive and diversified rural landscapes, food security and sustainable production respecting the highest standards in the world.

Source: Fresh Plaza