Lobby group’s anger at calls for more cuts

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The powerful European farming union and co-operative lobby Copa/Cogeca has this week rejected moves by the Cypriot presidency to reduce the EU budget because they claim it would bring about a significant cut in farm spending.

Copa president Pekka Pesonen said that farmers were already being squeezed hard by high input costs. Agricultural incomes were half the average level and food demand was on the rise, he added.

Currently the commission’s proposals are to freeze the CAP budget which, Pesonen points out is the equivalent of a 10 per cent cut in real terms.

Now, ahead of the main EU Budget talks which will be held in Brussels on 22 and 23 November, the Cypriot presidency is proposing further cuts and increased levels of flexibility.

According to Copa/Cogeca, agricultural spending, which is less than 1 per cent of total EU public expenditure, must be kept at current levels until 2020, to ensure farmers and their cooperatives have a viable future.