Cyprus supports EU Common Agricultural Policy
by Nicos Bellos
Belgium, Mar 15 (CNA) Ė The European Commissionís new strategy on agriculture development and community funding of all aspects of the new structural policy for rural development were examined at a meeting here of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council.
Cyprus was represented at Monday's meeting by Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Timis Efthimiou who welcomed the Commissionís position at the end of the Council and stressed that new horizons would open for the common agricultural policy, which Cyprus agrees with.
Regarding rural development, the 25 EU agriculture ministers expressed the view that member states should maintain flexibility to promote programmes, which handle their countriesí problems, remaining dedicated to the European agricultural model and the principles of competitiveness and upgrading safety as well as the standards of agricultural products.
In his intervention, Efthimiou stressed that as far as Cyprus is concerned the principle priority is based on restructure, alteration and adjusting agriculture products to improve their viability and to find new and additional methods of income to support the financial and social foundation of agricultural areas.
He said a precondition to make these changes successful should be to grant substantial incentives to new farmers and those who have progressive business ideas.
Efthimiou said that in many areas farmers have become the guardians of the environment and require government support to remain in rural areas and maintain their communities alive.
The Cypriot minister in tabling the governmentís views on the issue said the amount of community funds which should be made available towards this goal should substantially increase to more than the 1% proposed by the Commission.
He also said that various crisis do not have nationalities, therefore funding should be provided to those who are in need.