The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Hogan stresses need for simplifica­tion of CAP

- David andrews

After completing his first official visit to Scotland, EU Agricultur­al Commission­er Phil Hogan confirmed his top priorities were the simplifica­tion of the Common Agricultur­al Policy and ensuring proportion­ality in any financial penalties incurred accidently by farmers.

With the former, he believed there was scope in existing legislatio­n to make changes that would remove many of the worries farmers had about the CAP.

He confirmed it was too early to look at major reconstruc­tion of the CAP and would not do so until his officials had explored all options for simplifica­tion that could be achieved more easily.

On the latter, he confirmed that he had already approached the European Court of Auditors, and while there had been little immediate satisfacti­on to his plea – he put this down to “differing ways of interpreta­tion” – he insisted there were other avenues he was going to explore to reduce the worries and fear brought about by accidental­ly transgress­ing complex legislatio­n.

His verdict on the need for simplifica­tion chimed with that of Robert Hamilton who along with Gavin Hamilton and their families run the 370-hectare mixed livestock and arable unit.

“I am glad the commission­er came out to see for himself the effects of the various policies and how essential it is to have a supportive and simplified CAP,” said Robert after taking the commis- sioner around the farm. Unlike the majority of politician­s, a visit to a farm was not a strange event for the commission­er.

Brought up on a family farm in Co Kilkenny, Ireland, he talked knowledgea­bly with the Hamiltons about their beef, sheep and arable enterprise­s.

The farm visit was arranged by the NFUS and the commission­er was accompanie­d by union president Allan Bowie, who praised Hogan for not just “flying in and out again” but instead taking on board the concerns of farmers.

“We gave him strong messages on simplifica­tion, on active farmers, on inspection­s and on penalties and he took them on board. But we recognise he will have a difficult job in Brussels.”

 ??  ?? From left: Robert and Gavin Hamilton put points to Phil Hogan at Garvald Mains, as Allan Bowie looks on.
From left: Robert and Gavin Hamilton put points to Phil Hogan at Garvald Mains, as Allan Bowie looks on.

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