Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish full member on the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has expressed his disappointment with the Commission for their refusal to act on implementing important pilot projects, initiated by Alyn and voted by the whole of the European Parliament.
The 2012 EU Budget has supplied the Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture (DG AGRI) with EUR 1 million to assist a European Farm Prices and Margins Observatory (to allow farmers to easily compare prices and to make transparent where the profits are being taken in the supply chain), and another EUR 1 million to create a specific platform where national and local administrations can exchange best practices on simple and effective means of implementing cross compliance. Unfortunately, DG AGRI has refused to make use of these appropriations, claiming that the subjects are already covered by other initiatives.
“I have to admit my frustration with the head-in-the-sand approach of DG AGRI. These are important initiatives for Scottish farmers: we all know of the difficulties faced due to opaque and non-transparent supply chains, and poorly implemented bureaucratic cross compliance systems, and I would have thought that the Commission would have welcomed all the help they can get to create tools for transparency and to exchange best practice.
“The “other initiatives” they claim to be working on in these areas are clearly ineffective: the “food price monitoring tool” is extremely complex, does not include input prices, and is essentially unknown by the people who need it most – the farmers. A monitoring tool is useless if it is only used by a few officials. Cross compliance systems still differ widely across Europe, with varying rates of effectiveness, so clearly the Commission needs to rationalise and optimise what it currently has, and these projects could have assisted with that.”