Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-07-02-Speech-1-070"

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"Mr President, Members of the Commission, I should first of all like to welcome the Commissioners who are with us today and to remind the Commission, as represented here, that what has happened in the fruit and vegetable sector is totally unacceptable. Today, in Europe, we basically have two types of agriculture: the first is heavily subsidised and depends on support from the CAP. The second depends on the market and on the risks that farmers are forced to run in this market. Unfortunately, the fruit and vegetable sector, and particularly the nut sector, fall within this second group of products, a type of poor stepson of the CAP, which has to make a living from the market and which has to run risks in the market, with all the uncertainties agriculture is facing. The common agricultural policy has not provided an adequate response to this problem. Nuts, as the Commissioner knows, are a crop grown in parts of southern Europe, in arid and semiarid areas, where there are often few alternatives to dry farming. One cannot even use the argument that this is an intensive form of farming that damages the environment. Quite the opposite is true. We have seen this sector being all but abandoned over the last few years and we now run the risk of entering a legal vacuum, because the Commission, for reasons unknown to us, has decided not to submit any proposals. It is truly deplorable that this should be the case, and so this motion for a resolution that we are tabling in Parliament today is designed to make the Commission aware of this omission, this vacuum, and to make it submit adequate proposals for the fruit and vegetable sector. In this context, there are three situations that I think we must consider. The first is the need to provide a response, to legislate on the operational funds for producers’ organisations. It is also clearly crucial, as Mrs Ayuso González and other Members have said, for cofinancing to be raised to 70%. Support for the workings of the operational funds must be effective. Secondly, we must be aware that establishing the operational funds as the main agricultural policy instrument for the sector is not enough, because there are many regions, such as Spain and Portugal, where producers’ organisations are almost non-existent, and where less than 10% of production passes through such organisations. We must come up with measures that respond to the needs of producers in these areas and, until producers’ organisations are in place there, it would be unfair and unacceptable to marginalise them. Thirdly, Commissioner, it is high time that we adopted permanent support measures for nut producers. Why not consider direct aid? If almost all sectors are given such aid, why should this sector, which is so poor and so marginalised within Europe, not be given support? I hope that the Commission will rapidly submit the proposals that we are calling for."@en1

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