FEB.04.2013 – CEJA, the European Council of Young Farmers, has today called for the continuation of a strong Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) within a strong EU budget for 2014-2020 ahead of Multi-Financial Framework (MFF) discussions due to take place in Brussels tomorrow. In order to secure our food supply, it is vital that EU leaders agree on strong support for both pillars in the CAP so as to allow European farmers to continue to provide affordable, high-quality food and to protect the environment, biodiversity and the vitality of rural areas for the citizens of Europe.
A competitive agricultural sector in Europe is crucial in order to safeguard growth and employment, not just in rural areas but across the Union, in these difficult economic times. As the CAP is undergoing reform for the future of agriculture, we must ensure the sustainable development of this sector: as we place heavier demands on EU farmers to abide by new rules for environmental protection and the liberalisation of the sector, we must at least ensure that they are able to afford to carry these out. It is unacceptable to increase demands on European farmers while cutting their incomes – for this reason, it is crucial that the CAP stays strong in both pillars, to ensure the survival of the vitality of rural areas across the Union, as well as to secure the already meagre incomes many European farmers live on. It is also essential that money is invested today, before it is too late, into securing the future of the sector – by tempering the trend in agricultural demographics through support for young farmers’ measures in both pillars of the CAP.
Speaking on the eve of the high-level EU budget summit, CEJA President Joris Baecke underlined the importance of a strong CAP by stating that: “Employment in the agricultural sector in Europe is already under threat – that is clear by the ageing farming population – it is extraordinary that EU leaders would worsen this trend by cutting the CAP budget at a time where agriculture and the agro-food industry sectors across the rest of the world are seeing increases in support. It is also time that EU citizens acknowledged the burden that rests on farmers’ shoulders – they cannot be expected to continue providing high-quality, affordable food to the public at the cost of their own livelihoods.” The CEJA President continued by saying: “It is also essential that EU leaders come to an agreement on the MFF this week if we are to end uncertainty for farmers and implement crucial agricultural reform for the future. A strong CAP means a strong agricultural sector. A strong agricultural sector means food security, environmental sustainability, vitality of rural areas, growth, employment and much more. All of this will be put at risk if tomorrow’s budget sacrifices a strong CAP for nothing more than political point-scoring.”