CAP reform part of EU crisis: Dodds
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has said that the reform of the CAP could become increasingly “bogged down” amongst a raft of other issues facing the EU and the UK government, following reports this week that the French government was intent on reneging on a deal struck between David Cameron and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Speaking from Brussels, Mrs Dodds said: “It is believed that an informal agreement had been in place that meant the UK government would hold off on demands for major reform of the CAP in return for an agreement that the UK rebate would remain untouched. However sources in France have now speculated that the new French president, Francois Hollande, is against the deal.
“Such a change in position by the French could see the CAP being placed right in the middle of a political battlefield as the UK government seeks, quite rightly, to defend the UK rebate of £2.7bn per year. In a context such as this it will leave agreement at council level increasingly difficult and all the while uncertainty remains within the agriculture sector as deadlines slip.
“Added to this is the growing discontent within the Conservative Party on Europe and the demands set out this week by the ‘Fresh Start’ group of Tory MPs heaping pressure on David Cameron to take a stand on a raft of European issues, including the CAP. While many of us want to see powers restored to Westminster it is clear that there is a real desire among the Conservative Party to see radical reform of the CAP, with a reduction in the CAP budget a long stated goal and little alternative support to farmers being outlined.
“There is no doubt that CAP reform is in the middle of an EU political battle but also very much featuring in Westminster. We need our UK government to stand firm on the rebate but also defend the CAP as a mechanism that supports our local agriculture industry, bringing with it thousands of jobs and economic growth at a time of economic difficulty in the UK.”
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