Truss calls on EU to simplify regulations as part of farming strategy

Defra secretary Elizabeth Truss has identified strategic priorities for UK farming, from simplifying EU regulations to improving the resilience of the industry in the face of volatile global markets and opening up new markets at home and abroad.

Hogan, Truss and NFU president Meurig Raymond - image: HW
Hogan, Truss and NFU president Meurig Raymond - image: HW

In a speech at the NFU conference today (24 February), Truss said: "Our long-term economic plan for food and farming will unlock the potential of this vital industry – by encouraging more talented entrepreneurs to pursue a career in food, removing unnecessary bureaucracy, protecting the industry from plant and animal diseases, and opening new markets for top quality British food both at home and overseas."

On the EU in particular, she said: "We have told the EU Commission that decisions on pesticides must be proportionate and based on science to avoid holding back competitiveness of our farmers."

Encouraging Europe to embrace scientific advances such as GM, and working with agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan to simplify the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), were among specific policy aims she highlighted.

Also addressing the conference, Hogan said: "I have made simplification of the regulations my top priority for 2015, and we have launched a screening exercise to look at which things can be better done by member states."

But defending the CAP, he said: "It provides stability to the sector. If you went to the American Midwest and compared the landscape, the local economy, the biodiversity [to Europe's], you wouldn't consider it a waste of money."

  • More NFU Conference news in next week's Horticulture Week magazine.

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