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26/06/13 17:45

CAP deal sealed

European Parliament and European Council reach political agreement on CAP reform.

Political agreement on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy was welcomed today by Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead speaking on his return from the Luxembourg negotiations.

The Minister said the deal between the European Parliament and European Council – gave Scotland’s farmers clarity over the future framework for vital European funding support.

However, he said the fine detail would now require to be worked on regarding the implementation of the policy within the UK.

The deal reached today still has to be ratified by the European Parliament later this year.

Mr Lochhead said:

“It’s been a long hard road but I know our farmers will welcome this deal which - after a long period of uncertainty, speculation and negotiation - finally offers some clarity for the future of Scottish farming and our wider rural communities. We now have a better and fairer CAP even if it isn’t free of flaws and remains very complex.

“We have undoubtedly taken a big step forward here but the decision on implementation will be key to a successful outcome.

“While Scotland did not secure everything we sought – notably higher coupled payments – we did manage to influence a number of key policies, including the insertion of the ‘Scottish clause’ which means that we will no longer reward farmers for inactivity. It’s vital we support active farming and not slipper farming.

“Many of our other key objectives were achieved such as providing a level playing field for new entrants from day one, and that we have the flexibility to implement the right policy for Scotland.

“I also supported a greener CAP and we have that although the EU’s one size fits all approach means too many Scottish farms will have to jump through too many hoops when much of our farming is already green.

“We need a new CAP fit for purpose so that Scotland remains a significant food producing nation and that our farmers and crofters continue their environmental stewardship.

“We have fought hard to secure a good deal from Europe and we will work equally hard to ensure that the deal is implemented well, with Scottish farmers getting a fair share of the funding available to the UK.”