“Poland demands equal treatment of all EU farmers”

© Kpalion (wikicommons)

On Wednesday October 12th, the European Commission Representation in Poland organised a conference with an online transmission of EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos’ speech from Brussels in which he presented EU Commission proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and set a target of 2019 to introduce them. Following the presentation, representatives from various institutions, NGOs and farmers’ organisations expressed mixed feelings about the direction in which the reformed CAP is going.

There was not much concern about the attempt to even out subsidies, or the proposal of Commissioner Cioloş to cap payouts to farmers at 300,000 Euros per year. The understanding in Poland is that a limited number (around 50) industrialised large farms would be hit, but those using a large number of workers could win exemptions.

According to the Polish Press Agency, during his press conference on October 12th, Marek Sawicki – the Polish Agricultural Minister – said it was a mockery that the plan, which recognizes the “need to equalize direct subsidy levels, at the same time proposes to achieve that over 14 years. This legislative package isn’t a reform,” Sawicki said, “it’s an attempt to introduce cosmetic changes in order to maintain the status quo in the distribution of European subsidies.”

At the same time Polish NGOs, farmers’ organisations and independent experts all expressed their support to the “greening measures” in the European Commission proposal, stating at the same time that there is a need to work hard during the coming months, to modify the contents of these proposals in order to create a coherent framework for the agricultural policy and to guarantee more promising perspectives to more than one million of Polish family farmers.