Britain has held talks with Sweden and Denmark on how to make sure Europe radically reforms the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The three countries share ambitious plans for reform over the long term, centred on better value for money for taxpayers, a more competitive agriculture sector and better incentives to improve the environment.
This week Agriculture Minister Jim Paice met Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs Eskil Erlandsson in Stockholm and representatives of the Danish Government in Copenhagen to discuss the respective countries’ approaches to the forthcoming negotiations.
Jim Paice said:
“Sweden and Denmark share our vision of a CAP which is forward looking and faces the dual challenge of producing more food in a global market while caring for the environment.
“We need a CAP which gives clear benefits to the taxpayer and helps the industry across the EU to become more competitive rather than propping up outdated structures.”
The Commission is expected to publish proposals in October this year on the future of the CAP between 2014 and 2020.
The UK wants farm production subsidies to be reduced in the new CAP, with the goal of ultimately having a competitive farming industry that is not reliant on any direct subsidies. This will require a long-term process of transition, in which farmers are supported in reducing the need to be reliant on subsidies by investing in farm competitiveness.
In future, the CAP should reward farmers for the valuable benefits they provide - for wildlife, people and the landscape - that are not rewarded by the market.
The UK’s latest position on CAP is published at: archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/policy/capreform/documents/110128-uk-cap-response.pdf.