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Hungary: EU must spend money on farmers not immigrants

Staff Writer |
Hungary will do everything in its power to ensure that the post-2020 European Union has a suitably financed and strong Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

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"This will require close cooperation between member States," Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas said following the latest meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels.

Fazekas pointed out that in recent years, for instance in the case of the Russian embargo, farmers had paid the price for political decisions on several occasions, and the EU should not repeat this mistake.

It is unacceptable that the migration crisis, which in part also developed as a result of a bad decision on the part of Brussels, should be handled to the detriment of the Common Agricultural Policy.

It is extremely important to the Government that CAP resources are received by farmers, and accordingly we can only the handling of new challenges using extra funding assigned to solving them.

The Minister of agriculture highlighted that in early February the European Commission had launched a public consultation on the post-2020 CAP. Daring the consultation period, which closes on 2 May, agricultural producers, private individuals and related organisations can share their ideas and proposals with relation to the future of the CAP with the Commission. The 28 Member States are showing high interest in the consultation and more than 11 thousand people have filled out the questionnaire during just one month. This is already twice the number of replies that were submitted during preparations for the reform of the 2013 Common Agricultural Policy.

"I feel it is extremely important that the opinion of Hungarian farmers should also me made apparent in Brussels, and accordingly I would like to encourage Hungarian producers to fill out the questionnaire", Mr. Fazekas said. The public consultation is the first major step in preparation for the post-20202 CAP. The replies received will be used by the Commission when drawing up its statement to be issued at the end of 2017.

At the meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, Mr. Fazekas said with relation to the debate on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy that both Member States and the European Commission had designated the simplification of the CAP as a key priority.

"In our opinion the current system of direct payments provides Member States with enough flexibility to develop their own models", the Minister said.

"An important parts of this is production-based funding, which contributes to increasing the economic activity of rural areas, the income of people living in rural areas and the preservation of local job opportunities.

Reinforcing the safety net, facilitating the prevention of market crises and rapid crisis management are all extremely important in the interests of the suitable functioning of agricultural markets" Mr. Fazekas stressed in his speech at the meeting.

According to Hungary’s standpoint, the predominance of non-returnable funding must continue to be assures within the framework of the rural development pillar.

Member States must be allowed to retain their flexibility during the course of the development of new regulations on the implementation of rural development programmes.

The Commission recommendations on new regulations concerning the post-20202 Common Agricultural Policy are expected to by published in the first half of 2018.