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Without capping direct payments, CAP reform will have no legitimacy!

21 March 2011

By maintaining the grabbing of direct payments by a minority of very big farms, the European Council is turning up it’s nose at citizens’ expectations and repeated warnings of the EU Court of Auditors, is weakening the CAP and contradicting reform’s objectives.

Without capping direct payments, CAP reform will have no legitimacy! By maintaining the grabbing of direct payments by a minority of very big farms, the European Council is turning up it’s nose at citizens’ expectations and repeated warnings of the EU Court of Auditors, is weakening the CAP and contradicting reform’s objectives. In their conclusions of their March 17th meeting, EU agriculture Ministers oppose the capping of direct payments for the biggest farms of the European Union, in name of “competitiveness”. While refusing the proposal of the European Commission to put a ceiling to direct payments, Member States are not doing the CAP a good turn. It will be indeed difficult to explain taxpayers that more of three-quarters of payments continue to be given to less than one quarter of farms. Let us remind that, from the CAP reform 1992, the EU Court of Auditors EU has denounced several times the lack of efficiency of CAP payments given to a small minority of farms. While justifying its refusal of capping by the maintenance of farm competitiveness, the Council is falling into discredit. Competitiveness indeed cannot be measured by including public support! There is no “competitiveness” on the international market when European farm gate prices are world prices and when those are lower than European production costs. To supplement farm income with direct payments is then essential, but does not make farms competitive on the international market. While receiving much more public support than their neighbours, large farms will continue to absorb them, reinforcing human rural abandonment. Where are the “territorial challenges” of CAP 2020 gone? European Coordination Via Campesina asks Member States to take better into account the realities of countryside and to re-examine their position. ECVC asks the European Parliament not to follow the dangerous way taken by the Council and to vote in favour of a significant capping of direct payments: this is a key condition for a fair use of public funds. Contact: Geneviève Savigny (FR-EN) +33 625551687 Javier Sanchez (ES) +34 609 35 93 80 Gérard Choplin, Bxl team (FR-EN-DE) +32 473257378

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