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Straujuma: Latvia must be the only ones to receive the smallest payments for farmers

BC, Riga, 08.02.2013.Print version
Although a compromise must be reached on the European Union's budget for 2014-2020, Latvia has drawn the line at several critical points, Agriculture Minister Laimdota Straujuma told reporters during the EU budget summit today, writes LETA.

"Obviously, a compromise will have to be reached, and it is very unlikely that all countries will get what they want. But I believe that we have drawn the line at several very important points. This is obvious regarding the direct payments – we must not be the only ones to receive the smallest payments," emphasized Straujuma.


Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) has already informed European Council President Herman Van Rompuy about Latvia's position and presented Latvia's proposals regarding the direct payments, rural development and cohesion policy.


There are no changes in Rompuy's latest proposal, compared to the previous proposal he made last November. Furthermore, Latvia could be allotted less funds for rural development as eleven countries are to receive extra funds that will possibly be taken from the common agricultural policy program.


"The premier has already said that he cannot accept the proposal. But the talks are continuing, this is not the last round," explained Straujuma.


Many countries are dissatisfied with Van Rompuy's latest proposal, said Straujuma, adding she did not know how long it would take for a deal to be reached during the summit.


As reported, Van Rompuy has put forward a new proposal for the EU's next seven-year budget, which offers no changes regarding Latvia's two key priorities – direct farming payments and cohesion funding, LETA sources inform.


Van Rompuy proposes that the ceiling on cohesion funding for Latvia be set at 2.59% of gross domestic product, or EUR 4.2 billion, and that direct area payments to Latvian farmers increase to EUR 196, or approximately 80% of the EU average, by 2020.


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 already in 2014. 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. Latvia's goal is also to retain the current level of cohesion funds – EUR 4.7 billion (LVL 3.3 billion) in 2014-2020. To achieve this, the maximum amount of cohesion funds must be set at 2.9% of GDP.

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