MEPs settle in for drawn-out CAP debate

MEPs on the European Parliament agricultural committee face a marathon session today as they attempt to convert their 7,600 amendments to the European Commission’s proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) into a framework from which farm ministers from the member states can operate.

One of the committee’s Scottish MEPs, George Lyon, raised his concern that an amendment put forward by French MEP Michel Dantin risked taking the CAP back to the bad old days of widespread intervention buying and food mountains.

He said yesterday: “That is the wrong road for the CAP to head down and a huge step backwards to the problems of the past. From a farmer’s point of view, this would have serious financial consequences.”

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Lyon added that with an expected tighter CAP budget, widespread market intervention buying and private storage aid could only be funded by cutting farmers’ single farm payments to free up the cash to fund it.

He added he would back the commission’s proposal to use ­intervention only when there was a serious meltdown in EU market prices.