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Transparency of European Union farm subsidies

30 April 2009

- Transparency in farm subsidies, which we demanded for so long has now been achieved. It must be used as a tool in order to better distribute and adjust farm subsidies without delay. - The information proves the need to radically reform the current CAP in order to make it more legitimate, united, fair and sustainable. - An agricultural policy is not only a matter of subsidies; it must be a social contract between farmers and citizens/contributors/consumers.

- Transparency in farm subsidies, which we demanded for so long has now been achieved. It must be used as a tool in order to better distribute and adjust farm subsidies without delay. - The information proves the need to radically reform the current CAP in order to make it more legitimate, united, fair and sustainable. - An agricultural policy is not only a matter of subsidies; it must be a social contract between farmers and citizens/contributors/consumers. European Coordination Via Campesina is pleased about the arrival of transparency in farm subsidies which started on the 30th of April. It is a victory for all of us who have denounced the unfair distribution of public funds in European agricultural policy for so long. Transparency is a necessary condition to make farm subsidies legitimate in the eyes of contributors but of course this will be impossible without adjustments. In the last 30 years the European Court of Auditors has denounced the inefficient distribution of farm subsidies on many occasions. However, successive CAP reforms did not take this into account and the concentration in public aid for a limited number of beneficiaries (food-processing industries, large industrial farms) has risen. A considerable part of CAP subsidies are allocated to a minority of agri-managers, whose companies are often involved in industrial agriculture which ignores environmental issues and decreases the agricultural and rural workforce, incurring additional costs for communities and not meeting the expectations of society. The current CAP lacks social legitimacy and contributors have the right to wonder where their money goes. However, it is out of the question for us to let certain governments use aid transparency and its unfair distribution to become an argument to completely remove farm subsidies and the CAP at the time of the 2013 CAP debate and the concurrent budget rethink. The CAP is too often likened to mere subsidy distribution. This is not the case – a real agricultural policy involves a whole range of tools, some of which offer benefits (for example customs duties) and others which are neutral for the European budget. European contributors/consumers and farmers have to become allies in the debate over the new European agricultural and food policy that will be implemented in 2013. This social contract must be defined before the budget debate decides the European agricultural budget for the post 2013 period. After having opened the farm aid black box, it is essential for the EU to open the black box of the profit margin between producer and consumer. It is intolerable that consumer prices rise but do not fall with farm gate prices, so even when farmers receive a fraction of the price they used to the consumer price remains the same.

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