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Estonia asks for uniform direct payments to EU farmers

Combine harvester.
Combine harvester. Source: Virgo Siil

The Baltic states, Poland, and Slovakia disagreed with other European Union member states at Monday's Agriculture and Fisheries Council in regard to leveling out differences in direct subsidies, and according to the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs Estonia cannot agree to the EU's common position before there is a plan to equalize direct payments to farmers among all EU member states.

"It is important to us that farmers would be guaranteed equal support requirements in the next program period, and therefore we can't back down from our position," Minister of Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm (Center) said in a press release on Wednesday.

Last week the agriculture ministers of the Baltic states and Poland signed a joint declaration in response to the European Commission's communication on "The future of food and farming." In it, they stress the necessity to equalize direct payments to farmers among EU member states. The ministers said that while they welcome the Commission's communication, there is a need to deepen the cooperation of the European Commission with member states to better take into account their own experience and positions.

The ministers called for fairness and equality between member states, and said that the process towards full convergence of direct payments between member states needs to be completed.

"All EU farmers have to meet the same standards and requirements and face the same challenges," the ministers said in the statement.

Since the countries that don't agree with the principle of equalizing direct payments to farmers didn't support the proposal. Because of that, currently presiding Bulgaria was unable to add it to the meeting's final document, the ministry said.

The council's joint conclusion was the last opportunity for EU agriculture ministers to influence the European Commission's proposal on the future of the union's Common Agricultural Policy. The EU's executive body is expected to table its legislative proposals in late May.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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