Drastic cuts needed in European farm budget

4 June 2009

Drastic cuts needed in European farm budget

In an emergency debate yesterday evening, SP Member of Parliament Hugo Polderman called for a drastic reduction in European spending on agriculture, a position which now has the support of both Liberal (VVD) and Labour (PvdA) parties, and thus of a parliamentary majority. "A third of the total EU budget goes on farm subsidies, the vast bulk of which don't go to small farmers but to multinationals like Mars, and even corporations which have nothing to do with food production, such as Schiphol airport," says Polderman. "In other countries the subsidies are spent on golf courses, riding schools, and the British royal family. This must stop."

Hugo PoldermanThe SP recently opposed extending the milk quota, a move which is leading to a fall in the price paid to farmers. Instead of subsidies, the SP favours guaranteeing farmers' incomes through the lowering of production quotas. "Those subsidies which remain necessary to stimulate sustainable agriculture and management of the countryside and landscape would be best organised and paid on the national level," says Polderman. This would avoid a situation in which money is paid to Brussels in national contributions only to be paid back in subsidies. In fifteen years the EU's Court of Auditors has not once been able to guarantee that subsidies paid out have been spent as stipulated. Scandalous!"

Polderman has lodged a parliamentary motion calling on the government to demand a drastic lowering of agricultural spending when the budget is revised. The current agreement expires in 2013. Until then spending cannot be cut and waste will continue to be rife. The motion will be voted on next week.

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