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Smith sees cause for optimism in CAP outcome

Scottish MEP Alyn Smith says he is “hopeful of a political deal today,” at the start of the final trialogue. He is buoyed up by the wins on rural development and sees progress on new entrants but remains “less keen” on the direction direct payments are taking. This morning, ahead of the agriculture committee (AGRI) meeting this afternoon, he is positive: “I think we’ve won more than we’ve lost,” although the negative UK bargaining position has not helped. Instead, it ensures that the UK will come away with a poor deal for its agricultural sector,  leaving farmers from Scotland out in the cold. Some elements of the CAP remain unresolved, Smith warns, pending decisions on the Multiannual Financial Framework. He for one, is “dubious” about this arrangement, but as a political realist, he sees it as “the only way to make progress.”