Grower leaders demand EU put policy, production and budgets at top of agenda

Industry leaders have warned the new EU presidency to put growing and farming at the heart of its European agenda despite economic turmoil across the continent.

The NFU said it wanted strong leadership on policy, GM and food labelling from Belgium, which recently took the rotating presidency for a six-month term.

UK farming unions would "be watching the Belgians with a keen eye until December", as their ministers tackled issues such as the future of the common agricultural policy.

Key flashpoints included an EC report on the CAP and a review of agricultural quality laws, both due at end of the year. Also on the agenda were budget, GM and labelling issues.

President Peter Kendall, Lib Dem MEP George Lyon and other speakers are to host a conference on 13 October on ways of reforming the common agricultural policy.

Kendall said: "Policy needs to serve citizens and farmers and deliver European food security for all of society. It must meet challenges of climate change, emissions and biodiversity."

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