Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has called for MEPs to contribute to the debate on CAP simplification.
As well as calling for member states to submit responses, the commissioner specifically hopes to discuss the issue in more depth with MEPs at a meeting in Parliament at the end of March.
However, again he emphasised that the political agreements reached last year would not change and that the focus should be on measures that can be adjusted within the current system.
He also reiterated that priority should be given to those measures that could genuinely reduce the administrative burdens on farms and aim to give direct benefit to the farmer. EU agriculture ministers are expected to send their views to the commissioner by the end of February and to agree ‘conclusions’ on the topic by mid-May.
MEP celebrates British pig and poultry sectors
This week Vicky Ford MEP (Conservative, Eastern) hosted a British bacon and egg breakfast in the European Parliament.
British farmers have invested heavily to meet and exceed the demands of European welfare legislation – such as the cage ban for hens (in force since 2012) and the sow stall ban (completely outlawed in the UK since 1999 in contrast to the European ban which only came in during 2013.)
Pig and poultry farmers from the UK took this opportunity and appealed to MEPs for help to ensure that our efforts are not undermined by others in the EU who are yet to comply with the legislation, or by trade with countries who do not share our values.
Attendees enjoyed a lively discussion as well as a hearty breakfast of proper British bacon and delicious fried eggs, supplied by British producers Sunrise Eggs and British Quality Pork.
Climate talks heat up in Paris
As part of the build up to the climate summit later this year, agriculture ministers from all over the world travelled to Paris for a conference focusing on farming’s role in climate mitigation and adaptation.
The NFU’s vice president Guy Smith addressed the summit to explain why enhancing productivity is essential in meeting the challenges ahead. He drew parallels to the theory of the sum of marginal gains used by Britain’s Olympic winning cycling team to explain that farmers can make several small improvements across all areas of their business to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as improving feed efficiency and making use of clean energy.
He also emphasised the role that farmers can play in providing renewable energy – through biofuels as well as technologies such as solar panels.
His remarks were echoed by Dr Evelyn Nguleka, president of the World Farmers Association, who focused on the practical abilities of world farmers to respond to climate change while addressing food security.