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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Cuts in agriculture budget criticised

Funding for European agriculture must be kept at 2013 levels in real terms, said members of the EP Agriculture Committee in a debate on Monday with Commissioner Dacian Cioloş on the Commission's proposed multiannual EU budget for 2014-2020. Following the presentation of the Commission's proposal for the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) on 29 June, the Agriculture Committee wanted to hear more details from Mr Cioloş about the envisaged reduction in the agriculture budget.

"It is a cut in real terms", said committee chair Paolo de Castro (S&D, IT), who questioned what the consequences of the proposal would be for the ambitious plans for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2013. Parliament adopted a resolution on 23 June calling for the long-term agriculture budget to be maintained at least at 2013 levels. "Parliament has sent a very clear signal that we do not want to see resources being taken away from the CAP", which "needs to respond to the interests of 10 million farmers but also of all the citizens of Europe", said Mr de Castro.

"The ball is now in the court of Council and Parliament", said Commissioner Cioloş, who told MEPs that the proposed MFF was based on a freeze of CAP funding at 2013 levels. The Commission, he stressed, had allocated "new money" to agriculture under different headings, for instance making €2.8 billion from the Globalisation Adjustment Fund available to farmers. In addition, €5.1 billion of 100% EU-funded research and innovation programmes was "clearly intended for the agriculture sector".  "This brings us to a total amount of €435.5 billion" for the farming industry, said the Commissioner.

Source: European Parliament