The new EU Parliament should be more proactive in ensuring a thriving countryside, according to the CLA, which has produced a manifesto ahead of the EU Election on May 22. It calls for an obligation to provide a universal European broadband speed of at least 10 mega-bits per second and for more support for businesses that make the effort to be energy efficient-farm energy bills have more than doubled in recent years and the price of fertilisers has soared by 163%.

The manifesto asks that trade agreements should not undermine European agriculture, but should protect farmers and consumers from market fluctuations. It suggests there should be more innovation, particularly regarding genetically modified crops; that food waste, which amounts to 90 million tons, should be tackled; and that landowners should be helped to maximise land use, in terms of food production and environmental benefits.

CLA President Henry Robinson says: ‘From the economy, to the food we eat, to the environment we live in, the EU affects us all. Rural businesses matter. They provide jobs and generate income. MEPs need to recognise the specific needs of these businesses so that issues such as poor broadband do not stifle the rural economy.’

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