New approach to CAP penalties will help farmers, say Conservatives

19-Jan-2016 @ 15:0

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Conservative MEPs have welcomed proposals from the European Commission for simplifications to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), including fairer and more proportionate penalties.

The Commission has proposed a new "yellow card" system, with penalties for genuine mistakes by famers reduced by 50 percent.

Penalties can currently be more than twice the value of any over-declaration.

However thanks to new technology available for area measurement this will now be simplified by the application of a penalty which is 1.5 times the value of the over-declared area.

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan praised Conservative spokesman on agriculture Richard Ashworth for his 2010 report on CAP simplification which, he said, had a great influence upon the Commission's proposals.

Mr Ashworth commented: "This announcement will be welcomed by the farming community, and I hope this move towards simplification will spark a long-term culture change in the agriculture industry.

"There is a direct link between the complexity of regulation and error rate, as we see the same errors appearing time and time again.

"Regulation must not be over-burdensome, and penalties must be proportionate and fair, otherwise they risk creating a feeling of distrust and fear.

"The European Parliament has to remember, however, that it added more complexity to the reform of CAP in 2013 than any other player.

"It is time for MEPs to do our bit to help our farmers, and I look forward to working with the Commission to ensure this new approach becomes a reality."

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