Tuesday

30th May 2017

Poland calls for overhaul of EU agricultural funding

  • Poland worries without changes, the EU will lose competitiveness (Photo: caese)

Poland's top farm official has slated the EU's agricultural policy, or CAP, as "two-speed" and common "only in name," calling for a new system with reduced direct payments for farmers and increased money to help restructure the sector.

Speaking to journalists on Monday (8 November), Marek Sawicki from Poland's conservative Peasant Party also threw his support behind one option outlined in next week's European Commission proposal on CAP reform, and slammed the contents of a recent Franco-German position paper as purely "cosmetic."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Warsaw was angered last month when Berlin and Paris published a bilateral proposal on CAP reform, despite earlier plans to make it a three-way document. The large eastern European country also said that the proposal failed to correct current imbalances.

Direct payments for farmers in newer member states are strongly linked to farm size, while those in the EU15 countries receive funds calculated using a complicated system that takes into account historic stock or crop levels.

This has resulted in huge variations in direct payment sizes, with per-hectare payments for Polish farmers amounting to roughly €150, compared with while €300 for French farmers.

"Unfortunately what German and France proposed [last month] are only cosmetic changes ... it has nothing to do with moving away from historical payments," said Mr Sawicki.

"It is no secret that at the moment we have two speeds in Europe. There are old and new member states and they move at different speeds," he added. "There's 27 different common agricultural policies, but only the name is common."

To balance this out, Mr Sawicki wants direct payments for farmers in all member states to be reduced in size, while EU funding under the policy's 'rural development' pillar should be increased. Payments for Polish farmers are already split roughly evenly between the two funding channels.

"Farmers who receive 60 or 70 percent of their overall income from direct payments are no longer interested in modernisation and the development of their farms," said Mr Sawicki.

"If France wants to stay with 92 percent of direct payment and Germany 85 percent ... it's their own choice and they can do it until the end of 2013," he added. "But European politicians that insist on keeping these direct payments will stagnate Europe and it will lose competitiveness."

Conscious that its proposal may run into opposition as more funds are directed towards eastern Europe, Warsaw has been busily gathering supporters. EU farm ministers from states that joined in 2004 or later met in the margins of a recent agriculture council in Brussels, while a meeting between Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria will take place on Tuesday (9 November) in Bratislava.

Rowing back from Poland's recent calls for a purely per-hectare system of direct payments, Mr Sawicki said he supported a middle-way option listed in next week's commission communication on CAP reform, seen by EUobserver.

The option proposes that all farmers receive a minimum income support payment, variable according to their country, plus a further payment linked to environmental protection. Costs in each country, purchasing power, and employment levels are among the variable criteria being discussed.

Traditionally more pro-reform countries such as the UK and Sweden are likely to look for a reduction in overall farm spending however, with Germany also indicating that the EU's future multi-annual budget (post 2013) should not increase in size. France is currently working on a new position paper on CAP reform.

On one point, Warsaw and Paris are already in strong agreement. "The CAP budget must not be reduced in size," insisted Mr Sawicki.

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

The dynamic duo at the heart of European power, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, are to meet once again on Sunday in Berlin and thrash out their substantial differences over how to respond to the ever-worsening eurozone debt crisis, a black hole of a threat that US President Barack Obama has described as a danger to the global economy.

MEPs can unpick EU farm subsidies deal

Agreement on EU farm subsidies remains far from clear, after the European Commission said the European Parliament could unpick the deal reached last week at the EU budget summit

Macron and Putin hold uneasy first talks

French and Russian leaders agreed to "strengthen" ties at their first meeting, but exchanged jabs about Russian efforts to influence French elections.

IT security system risks EU fundamental rights

The EU commission wants to link up all centralised EU information systems for security, border, and migration management. The plan has drawn a sharp rebuke from the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhat's Going on in Catalonia? Join the Debate on 8 June
  2. Swedish EnterprisesDo We Need a More Social Europe? A Lively Debate Awaits You on 7 June
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersDiscover the Role of Feminism in the Peripheries of Europe on 9 June
  4. Malta EU 2017EU Group Launched to Focus on Priorities and Policies Concerning Children
  5. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  8. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  9. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  10. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  12. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade

Latest News

  1. Nouvelles suspicions sur le groupe de Le Pen au Parlement européen
  2. EU sets out demands on post-Brexit people's rights
  3. IT security system risks EU fundamental rights
  4. Macron and Putin hold uneasy first talks
  5. From Greece to Scotland, we stand by Europe
  6. Juncker keen to build EU 'bridge' to Trump
  7. Ministers water down post-Dieselgate reform
  8. Club de combat: des espions russes recherchent des recrues européennes