The Farmers’ Union of Wales today slammed proposals by the Cypriot EU Presidency to cut the CAP budget by €6.8bn, describing the suggestion as irresponsible.
As well as proposing cuts of €5.65bn and €1.15bn to Pillar One and Two spending respectively, the Cypriots also propose that member states be able to transfer up to 15% of their Pillar 1 funds across to Pillar 2 without co-funding - a plan which has also attracted harsh criticism from the FUW.
FUW president Emyr Jones said: “Once again our vulnerability to food shortages and the need to support agriculture has been made clear as harvests have failed across the globe, including on our own doorsteps, and the experts are telling us things will only get worse over the coming decades.
“The Presidency’s proposals will do nothing but undermine agriculture in a way which will worsen the threat posed by harvest failures and food shortages.”
The proposal to freeze the CAP budget in nominal terms is supported by France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and others, and was given the backing of the European Parliament on Tuesday of last week. However, the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands are pushing for major cuts.
“The EU Parliament, along with countries such as Ireland, France, and Germany, rightly recognise the importance of agriculture both in terms of maintaining food security and helping the economic recovery,” said Mr Jones.
He added that the proposal to introduce even more flexibility to allow funds to be siphoned away from food producers did nothing but add to the risks in terms of food security and would move the EU further away from a common agricultural policy.
“This will mean even more differences between member states and regions, and we are under no illusions as to the likely impact in the UK of such further liberalisation,” said Mr Jones.
“The bottom line is that food producers in some member states will be supported while those in others will be undermined as money is hived off to make good domestic cuts and to allow regions and member states to pursue agendas which are not in line with the overarching key purposes of the CAP.
“We are fully supportive of having two strong pillars which support agriculture and rural development but such flexibility will do nothing but move us further away from the very principles upon which the CAP was founded.”