VILNIUS – The three Baltic states along with the Visegrad four will seek equal direct payments to farmers across the European Union (EU) after 2020. The countries also plan to object the proposal on coverage of part of the direct payments from national budgets.
At a Brussels meeting of agriculture ministers initiated by Lithuania on Tuesday, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia signed a joint position they will present at the nearest meeting of the EU Agriculture Council in Tallinn in early September, Lithuania's Agriculture Minister Bronius Markauskas told BNS in a telephone interview.
"We signed a joint position, which envisages two key stances. First of all, we will seek equal direct payments to all farmers. There were concerns that Hungary and the Czech Republic would object the proposal, as they have bigger payments, however, they still signed. Secondly, we stated an opinion that we disagree with the idea of co-financing the direct payments from national budgets," Markauskas said.
"We think that the payments should be equal for all. Payments for the the same land should be equal across the community," the minister added.
As the United Kingdom is due to withdraw from the European Union in 2019, there are discussions that the direct payments after 2020 could be in part financed from national budgets. Up until now they were 100-percent financed from the EU budget, however, the new challenges the community is faced with and the monetary needs may lead to changes in direct payments. The proposal would mean an additional burden on Lithuania's budget.
Lithuania should receive 5.070 billion euros from the single agriculture policy in 2014-2020, including 3.394 billion euros in direct payments.