Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) changes could create trade distortions within the EU, says the The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), while the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) believes the reform does not go far enough.

Health Check proposals include the optional move to flat-rate payments, but the CLA and NFU believe this will allow too much member state discretion.

Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, the CLA’s President, said: ‘This opens the prospect that they will be implemented differently around the European Union, potentially creating distortions to trade. It is the Commission’s role to stop such distortions.’

The CLA and NFU welcomed the abolition of set aside and milk quotas. Mr Aubrey-Fletcher said: ‘It makes no sense in a hungry world with serious food price inflation to be artificially holding back EU production.’

Peter Kendall, President of the NFU, said: ‘The Health Check is intended to be an adjustment to the CAP, not another radical reform.

‘The problem with the last reform in 2005 is that it made the CAP more complicated and less common. The Health Check is an opportunity to correct those mistakes and we welcome the move towards a more level-playing field, but this does not go far enough.’

Single Payment Scheme revisions have been welcomed by the CLA and NFU. Mr Aubrey-Fletcher said: ‘The proposal for lower limits for the single payment of 250 euros or one hectare is sensible. However, the suggested progressive modulation is an unwelcome complication and a contradiction of the desire to move to flatter rate payments within a region.’

Mr Kendall stated: ‘The Health Check proposals will take the CAP in the right direction, but do not go far enough in eliminating the potential for different treatment for farmers across Europe.’

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) changes could create trade distortions within the EU, says the The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), while the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) believes the reform does not go far enough.

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