Hogan determined to maintain direct payments post-2020

Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has defended the CAP system of direct payments and argued that they should remain in place post-2020.

Speaking at a Farm Europe event at the European Parliament last week, the Commissioner (pictured) said that direct payments offer farmers basic income support and an “effective” safety net.

Although more needs to be done to improve the market resilience of farmers he said, “Tens of thousands of farmers would be seriously compromised” without direct payments.

Commission says no to free range derogation

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan confirmed last week that DG Agri will not table a proposal to extend the 12 week free range status permitted to poultry under housing orders for veterinary/AI reasons.

In a letter to Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development Czeslaw Adam Siekierski the commissioner expressed his concern that extending the 12 week rule would jeopardise the credibility of EU marketing standards across all sectors.

He encouraged use of exceptional market measures provided for in the CMO regulation, which must be applied for and co-financed at a rate of 50% by the member state. Mr Hogan has also pledged to “undertake a review of the marketing standards”, taking into account the impact of prolonged epidemics such as the current avian flu outbreak. In the UK authorities have set out initial plans to relax housing rules in England, allowing poultry outside again unless they are in “higher risk” areas, in which case they must be kept housed or under netting. These measures would be implemented from February 28 when the 12 week exemption runs out in the UK.

Russia places more

restrictions over avian flu

The Russian authorities have announced a ban on imports of a number of EU poultry-related products amidst concern over the spread of avian flu. Although most EU poultry meat products are already banned under a widespread embargo of European farm goods, new temporary restrictions will now apply to all types of processed poultry products, along with certain types of feed and feed additives, as well as second hand equipment for poultry farms and slaughterhouses. The Russian food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor also warned that unless the necessary reassurances come from EU countries, restrictions may also be placed on the import of live poultry and hatching eggs.