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Common Agricultural Policy - MEPs back Lib Dem reform plan

August 2, 2010 6:00 AM

The European Parliament has overwhelming supported a Lib Dem blueprint for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). George Lyon, Lib Dem MEP for Scotland, has drawn up a report with detailed proposals to make the CAP fairer, greener and more sustainable.

Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne, said "For too long the CAP has been the prisoner of a few powerful special interests and has damaged the reputation of the EU. People paid lip service to reform but until now it was difficult to get agreement on practical proposals. The Lib Dems have broken the log jam. We have resisted attempts to water down reform. The report has a strong mandate for real change and it is significant that so many of the main party groups in the European Parliament have supported it".

South East Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder said: "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. Above all we must put fairness at the heart of these reforms. We have a huge agriculture sector and we need to make sure our farmers receive a fair deal."

Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson added: "Agricultural policy must support farmers who produce to the highest standards and help us meet the challenges of the 21st century. Farmers can benefit from 'green' opportunities, and the CAP must help them do this."

"When public finances are tight, the CAP must provide good value for money to the taxpayer and be productive for society as a whole. These recommendations show a positive way forward beneficial to everyone, and Lib Dems will continue the fight to see CAP reformed in a fair way."

Mr Lyon's report now forms the basis of the European Parliament's position on CAP reform as debate on the issue moves to the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. The Commission is due to publish final proposals on the future of the CAP in November.