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Kalniete doubts achieving Latvia's target for agriculture funds

European Parliament (EP) Member Sandra Kalniete (New Unity) doubts whether Latvia can succeed in raising direct payments to Latvian farmers to 90% of the EU average, Latvian Radio reported on June 5.

Speaking of the European Commission's (EC) proposal this week to raise funds allocated to agriculture by around EUR 26 million due to the COVID-19 crisis, Kalniete told Latvian Radio that this EC offer marks "only the main lines" and is unclear.

"But is it enough? In the case of Latvia and the Baltic States, the drama is over the fact that it does concern the extent of direct payments. It certainly helps, because it will allow farmers to mitigate other problems in agricultural production, especially transition to a green course," Kalniete said.

She stressed that in terms of direct payments, the national target for the new reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is to reach 90% of the EU average for Latvian farmers. On 19 June, Latvia's Minister for Agriculture Kaspars Gerhards (National Alliance) and Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) will continue to fight for this in the remote meeting of the Council of the EU. 

"The target that Latvia wants to achieve in direct payments is 90% of the EU average. Well, I personally doubt that now, after Brexit and the pandemic, with new priorities, that it will be achieved," said Kalniete.

She believes that Latvia should nevertheless ensure that farmers receive at least 80%-85% of the EU average in direct paym

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