NFU pleads fairness for English and Welsh farmers

European leaders are meeting to discuss the future EU budget for 2014-2020 in Brussels this week, where they will try and reach a unanimous agreement.

Among the issues to be raised are the amount of money assigned to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and a number of policy concerns relating to the future CAP.

European farmers’ organisation COPA-COGECA organised a special meeting in Brussels, ahead of the leaders’ meeting, in which National Farmers’ Union (NFU) director of policy Martin Haworth said he understood the CAP would not be exempt from the austerity measures applied throughout the EU.

Haworth stated: “Whatever settlement is finally reached, the terms and conditions applied to our farmers must not put us at a disadvantage with our major competitors.”

Furthermore, Haworth emphasised the importance of treating English and Welsh farmers equitably to ensure they will be able to compete fairly with the rest of Europe.

“We are deeply concerned that the UK government continues to negotiate to have the powers to move up to 20% of the money at national level from the UK’s direct payments envelope into its rural development envelope. This would hit our farmers far harder than any cuts that are applied fairly and equally across all European farmers,” he added.

On issues regarding the future CAP, Haworth commented: “The NFU would prefer that the capping of large beneficiaries was struck out entirely from the future CAP, but making it voluntary for member states would be an acceptable compromise for our members.”

Haworth called for fairness on budget reductions, in which farmers costs and conditions should also be reduced, adding that greater flexibility for member stated should also be passed on to farmers.


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