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Baltic Ministers of Agriculture: unequal competition must be stopped

13. July 2018 - 14:49
Flags of the member states of the European Union.
Photo: reetdachfan / pixabay.com

Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will present a joint letter to Phil Hogan, Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, expressing their positions on the proposals for the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Minister of Rural Affairs of Estonia, Tarmo Tamm, says that one of the most important objectives for the Baltic States is still the faster external convergence of direct support levels to stop the current unequal conditions of competition. “We find that the proposal on external convergence is not ambitious enough. The production costs for 1 euro of agricultural production value are 30% higher in Estonia than the EU average, while the direct payment level per ha in 2017 in Estonia was 44% lower than the EU average. The situation is the same in Latvia and Lithuania,” Minister Tamm said.

In addition, the Baltic Ministers of Agriculture support maintaining the funding for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) at the level of the current financial period as not to put into jeopardy the possibilities of achieving the objectives and targets already set. “The decrease of funds is not justified as the II pillar is the most effective way in dealing with agricultural challenges. Therefore we feel that the CAP budget must remain at the current level,” Tarmo Tamm added.

“It is especially important that the three Baltic States work closely together. Our economic and climatic conditions are similar and we have common interests and objectives. That is why we prepared this letter and will meet with Commission Hogan during the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 16 July to jointly present him with our common positions,” Minister Tamm noted.

During the first meeting of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the ministers will discuss the simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy. In addition, Minister of Agriculture of Poland, Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, has raised the topic of damages caused by drought in order to provide ad hoc aid to producers. “We support the Polish proposal of compensating damages caused by drought as Estonian farmers have also suffered damages as a result of the problem,” Minister Tamm said.

Estonia has joined the joint paper of eight countries, which will also be discussed upon during the meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture. “The proposal by the Commission will give Member States a bigger opportunity to decide how to fulfil CAP objectives. That is why we joined the common proposal by the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark,” Tarmo Tamm added.

The Minister of Rural Affairs of Estonia is accompanied in the Council meeting by Siim Tiidemann, Deputy Secretary General for Fisheries Policy and Foreign Affairs, Marko Gorban, Deputy Secretary General for Agricultural and Rural Life Policies, and Madis Pärtel, Head of the European Union Affairs Department.

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