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Fairer agriculture in the South East

Catherine Bearder MEP has written to the regional press about the Parliament's vote on the future of the CAP. Please see below for the full text:


This week the European Parliament voted on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP has often been described as "the lifeblood of farmers across Europe", or an "obstacle to international development", or even "a way for the French government to use money from all over Europe to pay for French farming".

George Lyon MEP, my Liberal Democrat colleague wrote the report that we passed. He proposes five key blocks to reform the CAP: food security and fair trade; sustainability; Europe-wide agriculture; biodiversity and environmental protection; and harnessing green growth potential.

The CAP is a vital tool but we must use it to encourage greener and more sustainable farming. Direct support payments to farmers across Europe should be linked to efforts to reduce harmful emissions. A reformed and renewed CAP will treat farmers as part of the solution to climate change, not part of the problem.

Financial support needs to encourage the development of small scale renewables, promote further carbon capture and sets a goal for the majority of European farm land to be covered by agri-environmental schemes.

Above all we must put fairness at the heart of these reforms. In South East England we have a huge agriculture sector. About 62% of our land is used for farming and we need to make sure our farmers receive a fair deal.

Receiving payments based on how you farmed in the last century should not dictate how payments are received in the years ahead. Historic payments were unjustified, unfair and should come to an end.

In passing this report we have sent a clear message to the Commission and the governments of the member states on what your representatives in the Parliament, the MEPs, expect from CAP reform.

Yours Sincerely,

Catherine Bearder

Member of the European Parliament for South East England

Liberal Democrats

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