Budget proposals expected within next few weeks
WITH so much focus on the importance of the CAP budget Will Surman, the UFU Communications Officer in Brussels provides the latest political update on discussions around agreeing the budget for 2014-2020.
The UFU expects the proposals for agreement on the next budget to be tabled in Brussels in November.
France, Spain and Germany united on EU budget ‘freeze’
The CAP budget was top of the agenda when French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll met with his German and Spanish counterparts Ilse Aigner and Miguel Arias Cañete separately last week. Statements issued from the meetings supported European Commission plans to freeze the CAP budget for 2014-2020 at 2013 levels. The freeze would mean a decline in real terms and was described by Mr Le Foll and Mr Cañete as the “absolute minimum” acceptable. Meanwhile the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands continue to call for cuts to direct aids. In both statements the CAP was considered vital for growth, employment, innovation and the environment and both accepted a “proportionate and gradual” convergence of aid between member states. The greening of the CAP and the importance of farmers having a stronger role within the food chain was also agreed. The French/Spanish statement also called for flexibility for member states that are moving away from an historic-based payment to avoid destabilising agriculture in certain regions, and the need for a sufficient level of aid coupled to production in the first pillar of the CAP.
A new paper of the future of the EU budget is due at the end of the month and discussions at all levels will continue over the next month with EU heads of state due to try to find an agreement at a special summit in Brussels on November 22-23.
MEP committee adds pressure to ‘maintain’ budget
A resolution adopted by the European Parliament Budget Committee last week also called for the CAP budget 2014-2020 to be “at least maintained” at 2013 levels. The resolution emphasised the importance of pillar 2 funding and the role it played in maintaining employment and biodiversity in rural areas. On differences in payments to farmers between member states the resolution asked for a “fair distribution”. In relation to the British rebate it said “the new system must put an end to the existing rebates and other correction mechanisms”. Although the committee accepted that it made sense that the next EU budget is set for seven years, it added that after 2020 “a five year period would better align the MFF’s duration with that of the institutions”. The resolution took a strong line on flexibility to deal with unforeseen political and economic circumstances and said there must be “enhanced budgetary flexibility both within and across headings”. The resolution will be voted on by all MEPs next week.
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Weather for Belfast
Thursday 23 May 2013
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