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Monday, 21 January 2013

The EU should consider the global impact of its farm policy

A UN rights official is urging the European Parliament to require that the EU monitor how Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies and other support for growers affect farmers in developing nations.
Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food called for MEPs to restore proposed amendments to the CAP that were left out of a compromise document to be considered next week by the Parliaments’ agricultural committee: “Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy means high stakes not only for European farmers, but for millions of others worldwide who are affected by EU policies [..] In order for the CAP to work for farmers inside and outside the EU, we must undertake detailed monitoring of the impacts of EU farm exports and imports on developing countries, consult developing world farmer organizations, and conduct a proper assessment of the impacts on the right to food”, said De Schutter.
The EP agricultural committee is due to consider CAP amendments at meetings on 23-24 January. Last year, the Parliament’s development panel called for the EU to assess the impact of its farm support programme on other nations amid criticism that European subsidies harm farmers in poor nations. In June, the development committee adopted recommendations that also urge an end to export subsidies and that direct payments to farmers be decoupled from production “to create a level playing field between EU and developing countries’ agricultural production.”
However, the amendment was later dropped in the compromise proposals on the CAP.
“The Common Agricultural Policy is something that affects everyone,” Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva, an Oxfam researcher in Britain, told EurActiv. “These huge national subsidies are distorting international markets, so that something that is definitely affecting [poor countries].”
De Schutter also underlined that the EU is bound by law – Article 21 of the EU treaty - to weigh the impact of its policies abroad.He also said the EU’s Policy Coherence for Development calls for ensuring “that all EU policy areas with an external impact be designed to support and not contradict the fight against poverty and the achievement of the [UN] Millennium Development Goals, as well as the fulfilment of human rights, including gender equality and social, economic and environmental rights.”

Source: Euractiv