EUROPEAN farm and co-op leaders have urged the new Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, to maintain Common Agricultural Policy direct aid payments to in a bid to safeguard a viable and competitive EU agriculture sector.
Padraig Walshe, president of COPA, the European farmers union, said he was pleased Mr Ciolos wants to maintain a robust CAP, post 2013, with direct aid payments to farmers, coupled with a sufficiently large budget.
In view of the increasing market volatility and the sharp drop of 12.2% on average in EU farmers’ incomes in 2009, it is more important than ever to maintain market stability, he said.
Mr Walshe, speaking after the farm leaders met with the new commissioner in Brussels for the first time since ~he took office earlier this week, said strong EU market management tools are essential.
New measures must also be examined in a bid to ensure that consumers are assured greater price stability and to help producers withstand crises.
Mr Walshe said he also welcomed the commissioner’s firm stance in the current Doha round of world trade liberalising talks
Paolo Bruni, president of Cogeca, the umbrella body for agricultural co-ops in Europe, urged Mr Ciolos to ensure that co-op and producer groupings have a strong, economically viable position in the food chain.
Copa-Cogeca will continue its active participation in the EU High Level Group in order to address the problems of late payments, market abuses, unfair commercial practices and distortions of competition in the food chain.
“This will contribute to the smoother running of the food chain and fairer competition, enabling farmers and co-ops to obtain a bigger proportion of the value added and have a fair and stable income,” he said.
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