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Monday, 10.03.2014, 03:53
MEP Dess: no wonders should be expected regarding direct payments to Baltic farmers
Making the direct payments equal to all is impossible in the given budget circumstances, said Dess, but he added that he had presented a proposal that direct payments for Baltic farmers be no smaller than in Romania, where direct payments make up 77% of the average EU level. In Dess's opinion, that is logical, and he sees no reason why Latvia should receive less than that, writes LETA.
Dess also said that agricultural costs were increasing in all EU member states, but this should not be a reason for unequal aid payments.
Dess informed reporters that he had a 40-hectare farm in Bavaria. The costs at his farm have increased by up to 75% over the past twelve months due to higher prices of energy resources and fodder. These costs are increasing not only in Germany, but also in France, Italy and elsewhere. If a German farmer is to lose two euros per hectare as a result of equalization of the direct payments, no farmers would die because of that, said Dess.
German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner has expressed readiness to make concessions over the direct payments, but such concessions are yet to be made by French, Danish and Greek agriculture ministers, said Dess.
Latvian Agriculture Minister Laimdota Straujuma said in turn that Latvia would continue to insist that direct payments be increased to 80% of the average EU level in order to prevent distortion of competition.
"At the beginning of September, I will have meetings with French agriculture minister and European Commissioner Dacian Ciolos in order to continue to explain our position. Also, all ambassadors residing in Latvia have been invited to visit rural areas and see the situation there firsthand. Latvia fully understands the financial problems of the EU, but we cannot agree that distortion of the agricultural market continues for another seven years," said the minister.
Both officials, however, noted that the final decision on the amount of direct payments depended on the amount of the total EU budget for the next planning period.
Dess is on a two-day visit to Latvia, during which he is to visit several Latvian farms and discuss the question of the direct payments with Latvian government and agricultural sector officials.
As reported, Latvia wants Brussels to introduce fair direct payments to farmers, stipulating that the lowest payments must constitute at least 80% of the average amount of the EU direct payments. At the moment, Latvian farmers receive the smallest direct payments in the EU, LVL 63 per hectare or less, while the average figure in Europe is EUR 266 or LVL 186 per hectare.