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Conserving the CAP: The EPP position paper

Whereas the Socialist group published a surprisingly reform-oriented position paper in March 2010, the EPP position paper of September 2010 trumps even DG-Agri’s CAP orthodoxy. Already in the past, the EEP has repeatedly condemned the Socialists for betraying European farmers, for instance in dealing with the Doha trade negotiations and the milk fund. But don’t conservative parties stand for low taxes, small government, free trade and market orientation? Don’t conservatives wish to spend more EU money on research and development? And isn’t there a conservative case for preserving landscapes and nature, rather than giving the money away as income support?

Here are some remarkable quotes from the position paper:

‘Stabilisation of food prices is very important aspect of agricultural policy, which was present there from the beginning.’
‘The European Union, which already has a high level of energy dependency, cannot afford an increasing dependency on food import as well.’
Payments are needed ‘to facilitate agricultural activity throughout Europe, even in areas with less favorable weather and land conditions.’
‘Direct payments will remain an integral part of the CAP, as they are the most efficient mean of income support to farmers.’
‘And with the current level of 40-60% of the income coming from direct payments, it seems inconceivable that these payments will be severely reduced.’
‘First Pillar of the CAP will be the common part of the CAP it will be 100% financed by the EU, mainly to support farmers with direct payments.’
‘To fulfil the requirements, even additional once, is only possible if the level of the budget for agriculture stays as it is now.’
‘The CAP is the symbol par excellence for pan-European integration and fulfils a wide range of other policy objectives within its framework.’