Latvian Farmers To Lobby European Council In Brussels

Latvian Farmers represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and the farmers lobby representatives, who have been campaigning hard for at 80% of the average EU subsidies level, were disappointed with the recent proposal recommending that they receive only 65% of the average EU level. Proposals for reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be officially presented to the European Parliament Agricultural Committee on 19th June when Portuguese EP deputy Luis Manuel Capoula Santos is expected to recommend increasing agricultural direct subsidies to Latvia to 65% of EU average in 2017.

Deputy Chairman of Zemnieku saeima, Maira Dzelzkaleja expressed her disappointment and dissatisfaction with the proposal offered by Santos. “We have so far clearly expressed our position and insist on equal competition. Even though the issues related to crisis are of the utmost importance for EU, we are not going to abandon our position that the lowest threshold of direct subsidies may not be less than 80% of the average EU support level. We must remember that we maintain the competitiveness of Latvian farmers in the single market for the period until 2020!” said Dzelzkaleja. Zemnieku saeima (Farmers Parliament) is a non-governmental organization of commercial farmers in Latvia.

Latvian farmers have been campaigning and collecting signatures for a petition since May and have currently amassed some 6000 signatures. The petition will be submitted to the Prime Minister in June prior to attending the European Council meeting in Brusselson 28th and 29th of June. The Farmers are also planning a demonstration of support during the final day of theBrussels meeting.

Uldis Krievars, a Member of LLKA (Latvian Agricultural Cooperatives Association) Management Board stated “We have received positive feedback from the representatives of Latvia and other countries in Europe, and we are determined to continue presenting our position until such a time, that a decision is made at the end of the year; furthermore we are determined to attract the attention of decision makers and the international media by means of campaigns. It is great that the cooperatives continue to support the process of the EU direct subsidies campaign, by donating substantial financial resources, because these activities in June must be followed by more active protests during the EU summits in October and December.”

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