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Baltic, Visegrád countries to seek equal EU direct payments to farmers

Combine harvester.
Combine harvester. Source: Virgo Siil

The Baltic states along with the Visegrád Four will seek equal direct payments to farmers in the European Union by 2020. The agriculture ministers of the seven countries on Tuesday signed a joint declaration concerning the issue.

The agriculture ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Hungary, and Slovakia signed a joint declaration at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday that they will present at a meeting of the European Union’s agriculture council in Tallinn this September.

Lithuanian minister Bronius Markauskas told BNS on Wednesday that the position concerned two stages. “First of all, we will seek equal direct payments to all farmers. There were concerns that Hungary and the Czech Republic would object to the proposal, as they have bigger payments, however, they still signed. Second, we stated our opinion that we disagree with the idea of co-financing the direct payments from national budgets,” Markauskas said.

“We think that the payments should be equal for all. Payments for the same land should be equal across the community,” he added.

As the United Kingdom is due to withdraw from the European Union in 2019, there are ongoing discussions that the direct payments could be in part financed from national budgets after 2020. Up until now they were fully financed from the EU budget. However, the new challenges the community is faced with along with its monetary needs may lead to changes in direct payments.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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