The Minister for Agriculture, Jānis Dūklavs: The proposal from the European Commission to considerably reduce the financing for agriculture, endangers Latvian agriculture
On Friday June 1, the European Commission (EC) published proposals for Regulations on the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2021-2027, also covering direct payments and the distribution of EU financing, intended for rural development policy, among Member States. It is envisaged that in the next programming period, the financing, earmarked for Member States for CAP rural development, will be reduced by 15% as compared with 2014-2020 whereas, the total reduction in direct payments will be 3,9%. According to the proposal from EC, the amount of direct payments will not be reduced for only few Member States, including Latvia. For Latvia, EC provides a very minimal increase in direct payments up to EUR 202 per ha in 20126. It must be reminded that in February 2013, the EU Council made a decision that in 2020, neither of the Member States will receive less than EUR 196 per ha.
“If we look at this from a formal view point, it is good – unlike other Member States, Latvia will not face the reduction in direct payments. However, this “non-reduction” is, mildly speaking, a very formal approach to a long-awaited and necessary convergence or adjustment of direct payments. According to the current proposal from the European Commission, for Latvian farmers the amount of direct payments will increase by EUR 1 per year – it is obvious that the European Commission has not taken into account the objective necessity to adjust direct payments for Member States, enabling European Union farmers to work under equal conditions of competition”, says Jānis Dūklavs, the Minister for Agriculture.
The reduction in support for EU rural development in the period from 2021-2027 by 15% , means that in the next programming period, the financing, planned for Latvia for implementation of measures of the Rural Development Program, will be by EUR 147 million less than in this programming period.
“The proposal from the European Commission to reduce the financing for rural development by 15%, jeopardizes achievement of the major objectives set by the European Union toward the development of a sustainable agriculture that would affect the development of Latvia’s rural territories, employment and population density in a negative way. It must be noted that according to new Regulations of the European Commission on agricultural policy, farmers will be subjected to more numerous and more stringent climate and environment requirements, which, in addition to low direct payments, will weaken competitiveness of our farmers,” emphasizes the Minister for Agriculture, Jānis Dūklavs.
In general, the proposal for Regulations, published by EC, on CAP after 2020, in their content “is not the revolution but evolution” as said by Phyl Hogan, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, this applies more to the changes in conditions and not to financing, which is being planned to be considerably reduced. The published proposal by EC is the first step, followed by long and complicated discussions on the EU multiannual budget for 2021-2027 among Member States, EC, EU Council and European Parliament. Of course, the Ministry of Agriculture together with farmers, will continue insisting on its justified needs, concerning Latvia’s priorities. The Ministry of Agriculture is already carrying out active discussions with sectoral non-governmental organizations on the future CAP. The EU multiannual budget will be approved on agreement of heads of all the Member States.
Information prepared: Dagnija Muceniece
Head of the Press and Public Relations Division
telephone: 67027070, mob.: 26534104