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CAP can play important role in creating rural jobs - Carthy

29 September, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, has welcomed a vote this morning (Thursday) which saw a report entitled “How the CAP can Help to Create Rural Jobs”, receive the overwhelming support of MEPs. 

Carthy, who was a negotiator for the report stated after the vote in Brussels:

“This vote, of which I was the Shadow Rapporteur, comes at a critical juncture.  With many aspects of the CAP currently being examined in advance of the mid-term review process and with job creation in agriculture and rural areas becoming an important point of debate, this Resolution will hopefully contribute to the future reform of CAP policy. 

“I am pleased that the majority of the amendments I put forward were accepted by MEPs from across all nationalities and political groups.  Before submitting my amendments, I consulted with all Irish farm organisations, growers associations, local enterprise groups and environmental groups.  So, further than moving towards a more progressive CAP policy I am confident that my amendments really reflected the particular needs of my constituency. 

“Included in the report now are paragraphs which highlight the dropping numbers of farmers in rural areas over the last 10 years, the fact that these rural areas were disproportionately devastated in terms of jobs by austerity measures, and the fact that there is a very low income per labour unit for agricultural activities at present.

“Through the passing of this Resolution and my amendments today, I have called on the European Commission to be cognisant of the fact that Pillar One payments are keeping small farmers and rural areas alive, and to bear in mind that should they be withdrawn, 30% of European farmers would be forced to cease activities.

“I have called for a fairer distribution of Pillar 1 payments, for measures to address issues identified in the Commission’s Report on the Needs of Young Farmers, and for simplified and stronger measures to protect local produce.  

“With regard to rural development, the Resolution now calls for the bottom-up approach to LEADER programmes to be restored, increased support for cooperatives, and for region specific flexibility to be restored in the Second Pillar. 

“Finally, I am happy that all three of my amendments warning about the detrimental effects of trade deals such as TTIP on rural areas, were accepted.  Farmers operate in an increasingly global market and experience a far greater exposure to price volatility than other sectors.  The Commission has today been warned that deals such as TTIP, CETA and Mercosur pose direct threats to job creation and threaten traditional farming models in rural areas.  The changes that these trade deals would bring would work against policies aimed at stimulating local production and supporting agricultural livelihoods in Ireland. 

“This Resolution will be debated in the European Parliament’s Plenary session by a full sitting of MEPs with the European Commission at the end of October.  I will press to ensure that these crucial elements remain included in the final text.  There is an opportunity to ensure that the Common Agricultural policy plays an important role in the creation and maintenance of jobs in rural Ireland and across Europe.  It must be seized.”

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