TALLINN - The three Baltic states and five other European countries signed a joint declaration on the financing of direct payments to farmers at a meeting in Warsaw on Monday.
"EU farmers are operating in the single market; new ambitious climate and environmental goals have been imposed on us and we must stand up for the equalization of direct payments and a fair EU agricultural budget," Estonian Minister of Rural Affairs Arvo Aller said in a press release.
Direct payments to farmers vary by state to up to five times per hectare, Aller noted. Payments to 14 EU member states are at present lower than the EU average, and those to Estonia are the lowest in the Union.
"We need to make a joint effort to change this situation. Additional requirements stemming from the Green Deal proposals will be imposed on farmers during the next budget period, and this is something that needs to be taken into account in relation to direct payments," Aller said.
"Agriculture is an important part of Europe's policy, which is why the discussion must be steered towards strengthening the budget of the common agricultural policy," European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowsk said.
State delegations were hosted in Warsaw by Polish President Andrzej Duda, who underscored at the meeting that farmers have the crucial responsibility of feeding the people, and expressed hope that this is something the European Commission will take into account when drawing up the financial framework of the common agricultural policy for the next seven-year budget period.
Signatories to the joint declaration included the agriculture ministers of Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. The document will be submitted to the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council for further discussion.