UFU welcomes support from EU Agriculture Council to oppose possible cuts in 2015 agriculture spending

Wednesday, 12 November, 2014

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed support from EU Farm Ministers to oppose possible cuts in EU agriculture expenditure next year. The news follows on from a recent proposal made by the outgoing EU Commission to use the 2015 agricultural crisis reserve to fund compensation for Russia’s food import ban and a decision by the wider Commission College on 15th October to use the money gained from agricultural penalties and higher-than-expected dairy superlevies for exceeding quotas to fund other needs such as humanitarian aid.

UFU President Ian Marshall said: “It is disgraceful that money is being diverted away from agriculture at a time when farm businesses are feeling the pressure most. Farmers were not the reason Russia brought in its blanket ban, it was purely political and in effect farmers are being penalised twice – first as a result of the export ban and now with the manipulations to the CAP budget. It was totally unacceptable for the previous Commission to expect to reduce the 2015 agriculture crisis reserve to fund compensation for Russia’s food import ban, and I believe they were being very short-sighted. This 2015 reserve needs to be protected to ensure there is adequate funds should a deeper or new crisis arise during next year. The 2015 agriculture budget should be ring-fenced and they should be using the unspent CAP margins from this year to cover the funds needed for the current crisis instead of diverting it to other wider purposes. We have been arguing this for some time and I am delighted that the majority of EU Farm Ministers have now voiced their opposition as well.

“EU Farm Ministers have written to the European Economic and Finance Council and have urged them to take farmers’ concerns on board as the final negotiations on next year’s spending between the Commission, the Council, and the Parliament get under way. As it stands at present, next year’s budget will not cater for the needs of the agriculture sector, which is already suffering greatly as a result of the Russian ban.”

The UFU continues to push for the EU agriculture budget to be protected and is monitoring the situation closely.