e-news 17th April 2015

It’s been three weeks since the last update, due to the Easter break. Things are now back in full swing though…

Fears over end of EU milk quota scheme

The EU’s milk quota system, which has been in place for 30 years, has come to an end. Molly has warned this could increase the vulnerability of small scale dairy farmers in the South West. Molly said:

“The milk quota achieved its purpose of reducing public spending on indefensible butter mountains and milk lakes, but it could not prevent the massive price fluctuations and ever greater concentration of dairy production that we have seen in recent years. Further liberalisation would lead to an industrialisation of the dairy sector, with farms compelled to expand and take on debts to compete or close down. This would undermine attempts to create a more sustainable agricultural model.”

Greens have made a series of demands and Molly joined an action in front of the European Parliament organised by the  European Milk Board (EMB) to protest at weaknesses in the follow-up to the milk quota system.
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CAP changes must not dilute green measures

Molly has written to the Commission warning that simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must not become a euphemism for abandoning green measures. She said:

“Ensuring effective implementation of high environmental and animal and public health standards throughout EU agriculture is a valuable use of taxpayers’ money.”

Molly has raised concerns about how greening the CAP has been weakened by loopholes and exemptions and has repeated a call for small farmers to gain most from CAP payments. She said:

“CAP is still biased in favour of industrial-scale agriculture, rather than smaller-scale farmers and the biodiversity they can bring. It should move towards a system where all payments are based on the environmental benefits which agriculture can ensure.”
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TTIP negotiations a stitch up

This weekend will see a day of action taking place against  the controversial EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Molly welcomes the on-going opposition to TTIP particulalrly in light of her expereinces in the Agriculture Committee this week. Molly has accused larger groups in the parliament of backroom deals, lack of negotiations on compromises, unfair voting and stifling any criticism of the deal. She said:

“Greens had drawn up a series of amendments but were not allowed to vote on them. Aside from our proposal that negotiations on TTIP should be stopped altogether, and that agricultural products should be taken off the table – which we knew would not be accepted – we worked with other anti-TTIP groups to produce our own compromise amendments. These included rejecting the anti-democratic ISDS clause; no easier entry for GMO products like US beet sugar into European markets and food chains, as well as several amendments on preserving high EU standards and public authorities’ right to legislate in the public interest. Sadly, many in the larger political groups saw fit to reject or simply not vote on these amendments.” 
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