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Agriculture Commissioner to Look at Welsh Concerns Over CAP Reform 2012-06-07

Agriculture Comissioner Dacian Ciolos has promised to look at concerns over CAP reform when he visits the Royal Welsh Show this summer.

Guild of Agricultural Journalists Welsh member Gaina Morgan presents a Royal Welsh Agricultural Society tie to Dacian Ciolos, in anticipation of his visiting the show in July, on behalf of RWAS president John Davies at the Informal Meeting of Ministers in Denmark.

Gaina Morgan and Dacian Ciolos

Speaking at the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture in Denmark, he was clearly aware of concerns over the pace of change. Welsh farmers want the move from historic to area based payments phased in over 10 years rather than the five proposed by the Commission, and they are arguing against a 40per cent change in the first year.

Mr Ciolos said; 'I can understand some concerns but I think it's also too early to express concerns because we will give enough flexibility to all the member states to refine these features. Of course I am aware of the concerns, it’s one of the reasons I want to come to Wales in the summer, to discuss these concerns.

‘I think we have to understand we have to change the system. It’s not justifiable for the future. We cannot justify a level of subsidies in 2020 based on the historical evidence of twenty years ago and so we have to change and adapt the system.’

Mr Ciolos disagreed with Deputy NFU leader, Meurig Raymond’s comments, that the current proposals for greening of the CAP would introduce too much bureaucracy and legislation. It would move farmers further away from the market place.

Mr Ciolos said the proposals on the table were very simple. They made good sense – it was a system of greening that would go with a productive and competitive agriculture that included environmental aspects.

UK Farm Minister Jim Paice said he was concerned that the regulations as currently drafted could lead to a lot more regulation. It was for that reason that the UK was pressing for the cornerstones of the greening proposals to be simple, readily understood by farmers and the taxpayer, and to be genuine.

He said:”They really need to add to the environment rather than just being some sort of a green wash and just paying farmers for what they are already doing in other parts of Europe. We in the UK have demonstrated with those stewardship schemes that you can have some really good measures to help the environment, which work alongside active farming.

We don’t know what greening is going to produce and we may have to tweak our stewardship schemes a bit to fit, but we’re determined to negotiate so that our stewardship schemes can continue because we think it’s a very satisfactory way of bringing the two together with a minimum of regulation.”

Mr Paice added that the meeting had been very useful, because the informal councils allowed for one to one discussions. The formal sessions with twenty seven people around the table were more a case of each member state ‘saying their piece’.
Opportunities for informal discussion were vital for the reform process.

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