Scottish and Irish unions in joint CAP budget call

In a bilateral meeting between NFU Scotland and the Irish Farmers Association, both Presidents called on their respective Governments and MEPs to ensure that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget for both the Single Farm Payment (SFP) and Rural Development Programmes is secured for the next financial term.

The meeting, which took place in Edinburgh earlier this week, saw both organisations agree that CAP budget decisions must be concluded as soon as possible to allow discussions on the actual package to progress.

NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said:

“It is critical that EU heads of Government send a clear message of support for a common agricultural policy that has served EU consumers and farmers well and which underpins growth and economic viability of rural communities across Europe.”

In relation to changes proposed to SFP post-2013, both organisations agreed that the CAP must continue to provide a structure that supports active farmers and that change needs to be over a timeframe that does not disrupt farm production.

The parties also stressed that the CAP needs to support food production and that this can best be done with the option of up to 10 percent of SFP remaining coupled to production at farm level and the creation of a national reserve fund. Available support across Europe should also extend into crisis management measures able to help sectors cope with any unforeseen volatility in markets in the future.

Both NFUS and IFA were highly critical of the current greening elements of Commissioner Ciolos’ CAP proposals, describing them as being unworkable and over-bureaucratic.

IFA President John Bryan said: “Any greening of the CAP must facilitate commercial farming and not restrict food production at a time when food security is a growing priority. It is essential that the greening element of the CAP reform is not used a blunt mechanism to redistribute payments.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, NFUS and IFA committed to continue to work together in Europe and with their Governments to ensure that the final outcome of the CAP reform proposals secures the future viability of farming families and farm businesses.