If the latest leaked budget proposal being put to EU leaders is accepted the EU will fail to deliver on its commitments to tackle climate change in a way that provides for a just transition and supports farmers, Mairead McGuinness MEP for the Midlands and first Vice-President of the European Parliament has warned.
She said the week’s Council meeting is critical and such proposals must be resisted.
“The UK’s departure from the EU leaves a gap in funding for the remaining 27 member states but the European Parliament believes that an ambitious Europe should make up some of the gap rather than cutting vital EU programmes,” the MEP remarked.
Farmers need certainty about the funding for the CAP in the coming years, the MEP said.
“Yet thus far all they see coming down the tracks is more demands on them to change to address biodiversity and climate issues and to do so with less money.
“The latest budget proposals involve significant cuts in the agriculture policy - hitting both direct payments and rural development, with rural development payments taking a very heavy cut of 25 per cent compared with the previous budget period.
“This is nothing short of a disaster as rural development is where tailor made measures can be introduced to tackle specific issues, including habitat restoration, animal welfare and capital investment in better control of farm effluent.
“The EU is committed to tackling biodiversity decline and has ambitious climate targets - yet the budget proposed is anything but ambitious. In reality, it lacks ambition and is a budget of the past not one fit for the future. “
She said it is unacceptable that the promised just transition fund of €7.5billion which will help the transition to a low-carbon economy comes from cuts across a range of policy areas, including agriculture, rather than additional funding being made available.
“EU leaders face a challenge in a post Brexit era to keep the EU as a world leader in facing the new challenges ahead,” McGuinness concluded.