Easier access to financing
Unlike for most other sectors, agricultural policy is almost exclusively European. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) allows European farmers to produce high-quality and safe food at affordable prices for more than 500 million European consumers. It also plays a key role in the economic development of rural areas and in the sustainable use of natural resources. The EPP Group is committed to a strong, sustainable, competitive and fair CAP so that our farmers can do what they do best: produce our uniquely European high-quality food and preserve our unique rural areas.
After 2020, the CAP will undergo a review. We believe the new EU agricultural policy needs adequate funding and new methods to be efficient and sustainable. However, the CAP does not need to be fixed because it is not broken. The basis of the new CAP must remain built on two pillars: one that is fully EU-financed to guarantee efficient support for our farmers’ incomes and a second one that counts on support from national and regional authorities to reach its objectives. Whatever the new CAP’s future architecture, European farmers need to be able to access EU financing more easily and with less red tape.
Support to young farmers to ensure the future of European food production is key for our Group. Safeguarding long-term investments against the price fluctuations that are threatening their income is vital to encourage the new generation to step into farmers’ shoes.
Empowering farmers to safeguard food production
In addition, European farmers need protection from unfair trading practices in the food supply chain. The concentration of power at buyer level has resulted in an uneven situation in which farmers have little influence in the marketplace and are subject to practices that cut their margins until they are expelled out of the market. The EPP Group has worked on a new law that will allow farmers to complain - in confidence - where they believe that buyers are engaging in unfair trading practices.
Evaluation and authorisation procedures for pesticide substances need to be improved and the value and authority of scientific institutions safeguarded. That way we will be able to provide farmers with certainty, since they rely on legal, safe and reliable pesticides.
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Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP (EPP Group, Finland)
Peter Schmidt, European Economic and Social Committee
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