Franz Fischler, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, presented the Commission's proposals to review the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in Greece today [Friday].

Fischler pointed out that the CAP mid-term review did not mean abandoning the CAP: "The mid-term review does not mean that we want to cut the EU agriculture budget. What it does mean is that we want to support Greek farmers differently. And it maintains the clear objective to guarantee farmers in Greece a fair standard of living. For consumers and taxpayers, the review will ensure better value for money. I am really convinced that it is in the long-term interest of Greece, a country which receives by far more CAP money from Brussels than it pays, to ensure that public support in agriculture takes place via policy instruments that are justifiable, and do not give rise to environmental degradation or overproduction."

Fischler stressed that especially the strengthening of rural development would benefit Greek farmers. "The increased funding flowing into rural development could be used to finance new measures to help Greek farmers to produce better quality and to meet the environmental, food safety or animal welfare standards of production demanded of them. Such measures include the certification of products as well as the marketing of high-quality produce, products with geographical designations of origin and organic products. This will also translate into better prices.

"Greece has a huge potential in the production of quality food. Yet to meet this potential one needs to complete the shift of support not only away from products towards the producer but also away from market measures towards rural development. This does not mean that we want to decrease the agricultural budget, but it means that we want to shift money from the direct payments to rural development. The expenditure for agriculture on the European level will stay the same."

For more information on Fischler's speech, click here.