Poland calls for increased subsidies to farmers in the EU budget

Poland’s government said Wednesday (13 May) it had called on the EU to include bigger farm subsidies in the bloc’s future seven-year budget, suggesting an increase of 10% on what had already been agreed.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he had outlined this proposal regarding the 2021-27 budget in a letter sent Tuesday to fellow EU leaders and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

The European Commission had in 2018 proposed to spend €324.2 billion on its Common Agricultural Policy, the bloc’s largest single area of expenditure and one dear to agriculturally sensitive countries like France, Poland and Spain.

“Poland is trying to convince our partners to secure as large a budget as possible,” Morawiecki told reporters in Warsaw, adding that one way to do so would be to “crack down on tax havens.”

The head of government pointed out that the agriculture industry, which has been contending with an aging workforce and fewer new farms, has been crucial during Europe’s battle against the virus.

The sector “has guaranteed a steady supply of food to regions affected by the pandemic. It is all thanks to the great work and dedication of European farmers, as well as the financial assistance provided by the European Union,” Morawiecki said in the letter seen by AFP.

But he said state aid programmes launched to help EU member economies cope with the consequences of the pandemic risk creating disparities since “some member states will not be able to afford high levels of state aid.”

“Having the above analysis in mind, Poland proposes to increase the CAP budget by 10 percent (below 0.03% of the EU’s GDP) in comparison with the amount recommended in 2018,” Morawiecki added.

“The European Union bears full responsibility for the agricultural sector… If adequate financial resources do not follow this responsibility, the sector may indeed collapse.”

In the letter itself, Morawiecki did not provide any suggestions as to how the bloc would be able to finance his proposed budget increase.

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