Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-06-03-Speech-2-162"

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". Mr President, Commissioner, my voice is not making it easy, but I shall try to speak clearly. In January, the Commission presented its legislative proposals for a new reform of the CAP. In addition to the significant adjustments proposed for some sectors, the proposal’s main innovations can be seen in what is known as the decoupling and modulation of direct aid paid to producers. Lastly, it is also worth recalling the proposal that, from 2007, the future decoupled aid scheme will no longer be based on historical reference criteria and will from then be based on two main criteria: the surface area and employment situation of each holding. To conclude, the European Parliament is thereby making its contribution to adapting the CAP to the new needs and realities that are emerging, but is doing so in a way that avoids or at least minimises the risks of production being abandoned, of increased unemployment and of creating further serious imbalances in some farm schemes, particularly in the less-favoured and outermost regions. I therefore hope that the Council of Agriculture Ministers, the body responsible for taking the final decision, shares these concerns of Parliament’s and forces the Commission to amend its proposal in the negotiations that are now underway. ( ) The aim of decoupling is to convert the current form of aid into a single payment per holding, which would be decoupled from the volumes produced. Farmers would then always receive this amount, regardless of what they might grow in future and they could even grow nothing, provided that they maintain the land in good farming conditions. Through modulation, the Commission is attempting to apply an aid reduction rate that would amount to 19% by 2012; around two-thirds of the appropriations thereby freed up would fund future reforms and around one-third would be reserved for strengthening the CAP’s second pillar – rural development. Only farmers receiving less than EUR 5 000 per year would be exempt from this aid reduction. The proposal that is now being presented here in plenary was adopted by a large majority in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, on the basis of a compromise proposal tabled by the rapporteur and negotiated with all the political groups. The essence of this compromise, which I hope will become the position of the European Parliament, is the following: Firstly, to support only partial and gradual decoupling of direct aid, limited to the arable crop and male bovine sectors. Consequently, all remaining premiums would continue to be awarded on the basis of the current model; secondly, to support a much more limited form of modulation, of only 6% in the less-favoured regions and of 8% in other regions, since revenue generated in this way will go mainly towards strengthening the second pillar. Exemptions would also apply to farmers receiving less than EUR 7 500. By adopting this position, the European Parliament intends to send certain political messages. The first is that it unequivocally supports a reform of the CAP that makes it more rational from the economic point of view, that will make it easier to implement in an enlarged European Union and which helps to unblock negotiations in the World Trade Organisation. The second message is that changes of this nature must be undertaken prudently and realistically. In fact, our position is that aid totally decoupled from production as proposed by the Commission is an interesting model in theory, but poses risks in its practical application and ignores the reality of European farming, the great instability of the markets, which still need border management and protection instruments, and the extremely heterogeneous nature of European farming, in which there are huge differences in income levels and degrees of competitiveness and, consequently, greatly differing effects on the implementation of a decoupled payment scheme. The third political message is that the risks of production being abandoned following the introduction of a decoupled aid scheme are particularly serious in the outermost less-favoured regions, which have the lowest levels of productivity and which are therefore the least competitive. This is why Parliament has proposed a lower rate of modulation for these regions, why no decoupled scheme would apply to the outermost regions and why the particular situation of all of these weaker regions would be taken into account, in order to continue to ensure that farmers have alternative means of production. Fourthly, Parliament also wishes to state that there is no justification, at this stage, for deciding on such a high rate for reducing aid in order to fund future CAP reforms, since we do not yet know either the costs or the timetable of these reforms. Fifthly, I also wish to emphasise Parliament’s commitment to playing a role in strengthening the second pillar of the CAP, particularly by funding new actions to guarantee food safety and quality."@en1

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