The governments of Latvia and Estonia believe that the current proposals of the European Commission do not provide equal support to all EU farmers and that there should be no cuts to the total Common Agricultural Policy budget in the future. These Baltic States are ready to develop a unified position regarding the direct payments’ policy and for that purpose are currently seeking support of other EU countries.
After the European Commission came up with its proposal for the EU’s multi-annual budget on June 29th 2011, discussions among the Member States on the topic were held at the end of July, which enabled exchanging of the initial positions. The evaluation of the EC’s proposals will continue until the end of this year. Discussions on the merits will continue throughout 2012 while it is planned that the European Parliament and the Member States will reach the final agreement on the budget framework either at the end of 2012 or in the beginning of 2013.
Farmers of Poland, Portugal, Romania, Lithuania and Estonia recieve lower than the average amount of CAP direct payments in the European Union, thus according to Latvian Agriculture Minister, Laimdota Straujuma, these countries should join forces to reshape future payment proposals. According to EU Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, it is now the turn of the European heads of state to discuss the level of agriculture payments.
Latvia and Estonia have very close economic ties, especially in terms of fisheries, food processing, forestry and veterinary services. Latvia’s total exports to Estonia in the first eight months of 2011 amounted to EUR 189.3 million, out of which 35 percent were timber industry products, 11 percent fish and shellfish products, 7 percent non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Latvia’s total imports from Estonia in first eight months of 2011 amounted to EUR 112.6 million, of which 17 percent were timber industry products, 13 percent non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, and 10 percent meat and meat offals.
Tightening these ties and building a common position on the financial framework of the European Union for 2014-2020 to achieve fairer conditions for direct agricultural payments, were the topics of the November 30th meeting of Latvia’s Prime Minister, Valdis Dombrovskis, with Estonian Agricultural Minister, Helir-Valdor Seeder, in Riga. Their joint stand is that it is necessary to set a minimum level of direct payments in the amount of at least 80% or about EUR 214 per hectare of the EU average. The governments of Latvia and Estonia believe that the current proposal of the European Commission does not provide equal support to all EU farmers and also there should be no cuts to the total Common Agricultural Policy budget in the future. These Baltic States are ready to develop a unified position regarding the direct payments’ policy and for that purpose currently are seeking support of other EU countries.