FUW welcomes Welsh Government CAP response
THE Welsh Government’s formal response to the European Commission’s proposals for the future of single payments was welcomed today for highlighting the majority of concerns raised by the FUW over the past year.
"CAP Reform 2014 - The Welsh Government Response - Pillar 1", published on May 23, follows the government’s "CAP conversation" with the industry and seeks to demonstrate Welsh concerns and needs to the European Commission and Parliament in a way which encourages a favourable change to the draft CAP legislation.
“Our response to the CAP conversation was based on successive internal consultations with our county branches and committees, and I am pleased to say that the vast majority of our proposals have been adopted in this document,” said FUW president Emyr Jones following a meeting with agriculture deputy minister Alun Davies today.
“We do not pull our punches when it comes to criticising the Welsh Government when we think it is wrong. But we are also happy to give credit where credit is due and I have made it clear to the deputy minister that we welcome the fact that the government has accepted the arguments put forward by the FUW.”
Key points identified by the document include:
● The essential contribution that the CAP and agriculture make to the Welsh economy.
● The importance of a gradual transition towards flat-rate payments over a long period.
● The need to allow Wales to choose a flat-rate payment model which will minimise disruption to businesses, sectors and regions.
● That, if greening must be introduced, then flexibility of choice appropriate to local agricultural conditions should be allowed for regions such as Wales, alongside recognition of the contribution Welsh farmers already make through agri-environment schemes.
● That Wales should receive a fairer proportion of European Pillar 2 funds.
● That entitlements should be phased out and payments thereafter made to those undertaking genuine agricultural activity, in order to minimise distortion to the land market; reduce administration; and help young entrants.
● That arable area and crop rotation period thresholds should be increased to take account of the needs of Welsh agriculture.
● That Wales should be entitled to introduce coupled payments, within the restrictions laid down in World Trade Organisation rules.
“This paper will significantly complement the views set out by the FUW in correspondence with the Commission and during successive meetings with officials and politicians over the past year,” said Mr Jones.
“However, we have a long road ahead of us in terms of persuading the Commission and others to accept the necessary changes in the draft legislation, and even then it is clear there will be many winners and losers under a flat rate system, whatever payment system is ultimately adopted.”
The full Welsh Government document can be viewed on the FUW website – www.fuw.org.uk
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