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Liberal Democrats

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Fight against European agricultural subsidies continues

14/02/2001

Explanation of vote, reports Korakas (A5-0022/2001) and Izquierdo Rojo (A5-0035/2001)

We have voted against the Korakas report, on aid for cotton production. The report calls for an increase in quotas and fixed prices on cotton and also seeks to regulate the role of cotton producers' associations. We have also rejected the Izquierdo Rojo report, calling for increased aid for the production of nuts and locust beans. Both reports call for the protectionist measures, such as preservation of the system for community preference.

It is not reasonable that half of the Union's budget is devoted to subsidising production and exports of agricultural products. We believe that EU funds should instead be spent on purposes where cross-border cooperation is needed. Environmental protection, aid for reconstruction and development assistance are fields where increased funding is essential, not least in light of the upcoming enlargement of the Union. The Common Agricultural Policy is not only very costly for the European citizens, but also contributes to higher consumer prices and lower quality. Consumers express concern about European food production and have rightly begun to question the present the agricultural policies. Export subsidies, leading to the dumping of EU food surpluses on the world market, is the reason behind the serious difficulties for food production in many developing countries.

The CAP was established in order to secure the provision of food after the second world war, not to subsidise unprofitable cultivation of crops used for textile production. The Common Agricultural Policy of today has lost its political legitimacy and must be completely reformed. All aid to exports and production should be abolished. Agriculture needs to adapt to market rules in order to be exposed to competition. This will increase efficiency and quality, to the benefit of both production and consumers.

Lousewies van der Laan, D66 Bob van den Bos, D66 Cecilia Malmström, Folkpartiet Marit Paulsen, Folkpartiet Olle Schmidt, Folkpartiet Chris Davies, Liberal democrats

 

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