Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture: EU Member States must have more freedom of action in making decisions on investing EU support

On Friday, June 19, in Estonia, Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture had a meeting with Arvo Aller, the Estonian Minister for Rural Affairs and discussed a joint position of both the States in several issues that are equally important for the future of Latvian and Estonian farmers - the budget of EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the next programming period from 2021 to 2027, and impact on the sector of agriculture of the strategies of the European Commission “Farm to fork” and “Biodiversity strategy”and others.

Recently, the European Commission came forward with a proposal to increase the EU CAP budget for the next programming period by EUR 15 billion that is welcome initiative but at present it is not clear how this increase will be distributed among Member States and, when farmers will receive this funding to invest it in the development of rural economy.

Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture: “It is important to ensure a strong and effectively functioning CAP and the additional EUR 15 billion, offered by COM, is  a step in right direction. However, no less important is to know how this funding will be distributed among Member States and when farmers will receive it. Currently, it is not clear, by what amount it will increase the EU funding for Latvia and whether the distribution will be equal. It is clear that to make CAP more targeted and effective, Member States must be given more freedom of action to determine how to invest the EU support funding that would enable agriculture and food industry to recover quicker from negative consequences of Covid-19 epidemy and become even stronger.”

The Ministers of both the countries also emphasized that equalization of direct payments is still to be solved, this distorts the EU internal competition, placing farmers of Baltic States in disadvantageous competition conditions. Latvia and Estonia are still receiving direct payments at the level that is below the EU average level, the prices for electricity, mineral fertilizers and diesel in Latvia and Estonia are at the EU average price level. Together with a generally reduced funding for agriculture for the next programming period, it will not ensure a sufficient funding that would be proportional to that received by the EU old Member States. Latvia and Estonia are still insisting on the direct payments be equalized at last among all the EU Member States.

Ministers agreed that COM strategies “Farm to fork” and “Biodiversity strategy” are welcome but they require an adequate funding, which is fairly distributed among Member States, otherways achievement of the ambitious climate and environmental  objectives is placed on farmers’ shoulders.

The new environmental and climate objectives are very ambitious and the road to their achievement will considerably influence the sector of agriculture therefore, the major challenge in achieving the new climate and environmental objectives is ensuring of an adequate funding and a fair distribution of this funding.

Information prepared by: Dagnija Muceniece,
Head of the Press and Public Relations Division
telephone: 67027070; mob.: 26534104
email: Dagnija.Muceniece@zm.gov.lv

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