By Theo Moreni
Romania will support the budget of the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) post 2020 and of the two pillars within PAC, but will say 'no' to direct payment cap, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) Petre Daea told.
'Romania sustains the maintenance of the PAC budget and says no to cap. We want to move towards convergence, to see what perspectives we create for young farmers. A young person today cannot be tomorrow's farmer without land. What perspectives do we provide for him/her? And from that point of view we have support instruments which entail the 80 percent state guarantee of the working capital loan. It is a normative act that works, 80 percent state guarantees and 20 percent the land value, but under certain circumstances. It is one [a measure - ed.n.] for everybody, but first and foremost for the youth. There are still measures in PNDR [National Rural Development Programme -ed.n] that we need to endow with money, and with solid money in the future PAC,' Daea specified.
He maintains that in the budget of the future PAC, research must have a separate compartment so that 'it can feed in order to be able to answer to the great challenges of time, to the climate changes that have become a reality.'
With regard to the acquisition of agricultural land, the head of MADR underscored that the change of the requirements imposed for buying land - a process that is underway - aims at the creation 'of a path favourable for the youth.'
With regard to the future PAC, the Minister considers that the Agriculture Ministry has great responsibility when it comes to establishing priorities, but it can only be achieved through dialogue with farmers.
In this context, the Minister for Agriculture will travel next week to Poland and France, upon the invite of his counterparts but will also participate in the Council Ministers of Agriculture in Brussels, where he will discuss with European Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan.
The Minister maintains that he will take the 'necessary groundwork' to the meeting of the Council of Agriculture Ministers in Brussels, because the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union will bear consequences.
Agriculture and the agri-food sector benefit from a preferential treatment within the EU and remain by far the largest employer in the community space. Although agriculture as such employs fewer and fewer people, because the number of farmers is decreasing, all activities connected to agriculture - from agricultural inputs, raw materials to distribution and retail systems, this value chain creates 44 million jobs in Europe.
Moreover, agriculture is the element that ensures the unique European market, as there are 500 million consumers who have the greatest say with regard to diversity and food product quality.
The European Union has become the greatest actor on the world market, exporting to the rest of the world agri-food products worth 131 billion euro and importing products worth 112 billion euro. Agriculture also plays an important role in fighting climate change, for the protection of natural resources and clean energy production, given that European farmers own 48 percent of the EU land and forestry manages and maintains 36 percent of the territory.
PAC remains a major consumer of the Community budget, around 40 percent, however the share in the overall budget and within the Gross Domestic Product is dropping.