The Agriculture Ministers of the Baltic states and Poland signed a joint declaration in Warsaw September 5 agreeing on a unified position with regard to reform of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and financing, in a repeat of something they did in March last year, as reported by LSM
at the time.
Baltic, Polish Agriculture declaration
Latvian Minister of Agriculture Kaspars Gerhards (National Alliance) echoed his predecessor, Jānis Dūklavs, by describing current provisions for Poland and the Baltics as "inadequate", pointing out:
"Latvian farmers have had one of the lowest levels of support across Europe for 15 years, three times lower than for other countries. Firstly, the support must be the same for all EU Member States. Secondly, if new goals are to be achieved, then this support should be developed accordingly."
Gerhards also drew attention to the fact that the current system of direct payments does not ensure a level playing field for farmers in all EU Member States, saying: “A large number of Member States receive very generous direct payments - 100% and even up to 209% of the EU average. Meanwhile, for Latvia, the European Commission plans to set it at only 77%. There can be no question of such support being sufficient - it does not outweigh existing support needs of farmers, nor does it provide the opportunity to fully realize the new EU objectives that go beyond what is already in place."
The full text of the declaration is attached to this story, but includes warnings as to the likely effects of under-funding rural districts.
"WE EXPRESS OUR GREAT CONCERN with the unjustified decrease of rural development funding, all the more so in light of that rural development policy has proven to be an effective tool in addressing the challenges faced by the CAP. WE EMPHASIZE that this may weaken the potential of delivery of rural development objectives, in particular in less wealthy EU Member States. Therefore, WE CALL to maintain the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) budget, as minimum, at the same level as it is in the current programming period," the ministers state.
On CAP, the ministers said:
"WE BELIEVE therefore, that there is no justification for further continuation of differences in the
level of direct payments resulting from their historical reference calculation parameters. WE EXPECT
the alignment process of direct payments to be completed in 2021-2027 perspective."
They also called for measures to deal with the likely fallout from Brexit.
"A no-deal Brexit poses great risks to agricultural markets. Therefore, it is necessary for the European Commission to provide extraordinary resources for crisis management, taking into account the risk of a hard Brexit," they said.