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Common Agricultural Policy

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact on farmers of proposed reforms to the common agricultural policy; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of James Paice James Paice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The European Commission published its draft regulatory proposals concerning the 2014-20 common agricultural policy on the 12 October, including an extensive impact assessment. The proposals were discussed for the first time in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 20 October 2011, which the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend Mrs Spelman, and I attended.

The EU has an important opportunity to agree the genuine reforms needed to meet the long-term demands of the 21st Century. We are disappointed at the lack of ambition the Commission has shown in their CAP proposals. We do not believe the proposals will benefit the environment or have the long-term competitiveness of the industry in mind. They root agriculture in the past and fall short of addressing future challenges and opportunities ahead. The proposals fail to encourage the innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable actions that are essential—and in some ways work against these aims.

DEFRA is currently considering the Council's documents in detail and will, as usual, meet with key stakeholder groups to assess the potential impact these may have on UK farm businesses. We will continue to discuss the proposals with devolved Ministers, and look forward to further discussions at European level. We will work constructively with member states, the Commission and—for the first time on CAP Reform—with the European Parliament to deliver the ambitious reform we believe is necessary.

Negotiations on the proposals are under way but this is the start of a long and complex process which will take place alongside negotiations on the next Multi Annual Financial Framework 2014-20.

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