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Baltic Farmers and Baltic Leaders: “United for 100% Fairness across Europe”

Date

17 Feb 2020

Sections

InfoSociety

BRUSSELS, 17 February 2020The leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will join 200 farmers from the three countries in Brussels this week to call for a fair allocation of direct payments under the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Baltic farmers will gather in Brussels on 20 February before the extraordinary summit of European Heads of State and Government to agree the EU’s 2021-2027 Multi-Annual Framework (MFF). The outcome of the summit will determine the budget for the post-2020 CAP. During the previous round of negotiations, last December, the three leaders called for “full convergence in agricultural direct payments by the end of MFF” in a joint declaration.

The issue of the unfair distribution of direct payments dates to the EU accession phase of the Baltic states, with the initial payment calculations being based on a period during which the countries were undergoing major land reform transitioning from the Soviet centralized model to family farming structures. The result of an unprecedented drop of productivity during those years, which obviously did not show actual production capacity, was taken as reference, leading to a historical injustice.

Seven years ago, in February 2013, the European Council unanimously agreed that, “by 2020 at the latest, all Member States should reach the level of at least EUR 196 per hectare at current prices”. Since then, Baltic farmers have continued to systematically receive no more than 54-60% of the European average in direct payments, despite repeated calls for an end to this unfair distribution of funding which does not reflect the realities of agriculture on the ground in the Baltic countries.

While Baltic farmers receive the lowest direct payments in the EU, their production costs are much higher than the EU average, amounting to respectively 129% (Estonia), 112% (Lithuania) and 113% (Latvia).

Baltic Farmers are also very concerned that the growing ambition of EU Green Deal and climate neutrality goal, is not matched with adequate funding in the CAP. At the same time, a significant reduction in budgets for rural development, a policy that has proven its effectiveness in the Baltic States, jeopardizes the livelihood of people in rural areas. As meeting higher environmental and climate requirements would have similar costs across the EU, the same level of investment should receive the same level of support. Furthermore, capping payments for farms responsible for the majority of production may hinder the investments necessary to achieve the goals prescribed in the EU Green Deal.

The Baltic farmers previously gathered in Brussels in multiple occasions, to protest against the unfair calculation of the CAP budget allocation. A spokesperson for the coalition stated that “We will travel across Europe, standing united for 100% fairness across Europe. We need fairness to fulfill our mission of  feeding people in sustainable way, contributing to the climate and preserving our  countryside” reiterating their aim for a political agreement which would correct a historical injustice.

During the protest, the Baltic farmers will offer their Heads of State some Baltic ‘Summit Juice’, a special energy drink made of local produce to keep them focused during the marathon negotiations.

***
Press kit: you can find all materials from the protest in the following link.

 

#BalticFarmers
#DontCAPfairness
#MakeFutureFair

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