European farming group Copa and Cogeca has hit out at the European Commission for planning cuts to direct payments and failing to protect domestic producers in new trade deals.
The latest round of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, which include capping direct payments at €100,000, will be delivered with a budget of €365 billion – a five per cent cut on the previous period of 2014-2020.
Copa president Joachim Rukweid complained that farmers in Europe were being expected to respect tough food safety, welfare and environmental requirements for ‘less and less money’ while losing the ‘technology tool box’ which allowed them to remain competitive.
Mr Rukweid also criticised the EU’s planned trade deal with the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur, which could allow more beef to enter the EU in exchange for lower tariffs on European exports such as cars.
He said: “We cannot accept that our standards in trade talks with the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur are weakened or that our farmers are penalised for respecting them by being subject to unfair competition. Trade concessions must be minimized for our more sensitive sectors.”
Mr Rukweid’s pleas on trade echo those made by farming groups in the UK, but they came as Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) president Glyn Roberts issued a warning over the differences between future EU support and UK support for farming post-Brexit.
He told the union’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Aberystwyth that the principles of providing a fair standard of living for farmers and securing a stable supply of affordable food would continue to underpin the CAP, while food production and the economic viability of farms were ‘being left out’ of new UK policies.