Cuts in EU spending could threaten 40 million jobs in the agri-food sector warns Copa-Cogeca, a mutual organisation for European farmers and agricultural co-operatives.
According to Copa-Cogeca, the first cut in EU spending in its 56-year history will lead to a 15 percent reduction in Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) spending.
Copa President, Gerd Sonnleitner, said: “The current CAP costs less than one percent of total public expenditure yet it provides huge benefits for the EU citizens. Farmers are also confronted with increasing challenges, like climate change, rising input costs, market volatility and costly regulations which imports to the EU do not have to meet.
“It’s therefore more important than ever that measures to further green the CAP do not increase farmers’ costs or threaten production capacity.“
Mr Sonnleitner added: “The EU Commission has proposed to reduce the amount of agricultural land available for production by seven percent, as part of greening without any clear environmental benefit. With future food security under threat, this is irresponsible.
“I therefore welcome as a step in the right direction the European summit’s decision today to ensure that this does not result in land being taken out of production or lead to income losses for farmers. It is crucial that we maintain a viable agriculture sector which can continue to provide secure and stable supplies of food to the EU’s 500 million consumers”.
Cogeca President, Christian Pèes, said: “Extreme market volatility, together with unfair and abusive practices in the food chain, is having a serious impact on farmers and their co-operatives.
“A strong CAP, with a good budget behind it, is essential to help stabilise markets and enable farmers and their co-operatives to get a better return from the marketplace. All the big super powers like the US, Brazil and China see their agriculture and agri-food sector as a key strategic sector and Europe must do the same”.
The EU leaders agreed on the £29 billion cuts over the next seven years following all-night negotiations. The Parliament still needs to vote on the new budget and some MPs have already warned they will veto the Deal.
Furthermore, should a secret ballot take place, MEPs would be able to vote anonymously. The bid to call a secret vote would need to be supported by one fifth of the MEPs. The secret vote would prevent national governments from revealing the votes of their MEPs.
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