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The Welsh voice in Europe

With Europe Day swiftly approaching, I thought that there would be no better time to take the opportunity to tell you all about some of our progress in the EU.
Monday 30 April 2012
Western Mail

On May 9, people all over the continent mark the date with various events to annually celebrate peace and unity throughout Europe.

Having just returned from attending the Agriculture and Fisheries Council with took place in Luxembourg on the 26th and 27th of last month, I remain ever more positive of the Welsh voice being heard loud and clear throughout the EU.

The major issue on the table now, and for the foreseeable future will be the long and complicated process that will be the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy or CAP. 

It is vital we play our part in these changes as CAP will always play a vital part in maintaining the viability of Welsh farming.

Many negotiations are ongoing within the UK and Europe and I am the person representing the people of Wales and standing up to ensure that Welsh needs are strongly presented to the Council.

At the Welsh Government we are now reviewing the responses to my consultation document on CAP, which initiated the conversation between us and everyone with an interest in Wales to put forward their views for consideration.

This engagement is an on-going process and of course, I will be working closely with, and constantly maintaining, the conversation with the people on the ground to make sure everyone's needs are heard and taken into account so I can work on getting the very best possible deal for Wales and Welsh farmers.

I am committed to taking an active part in the councils, which are an important tool in furthering the discussions, and my attendance and participation has clearly paid dividends.

Recently, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Ciolos, spoke publicly about the proposed greening elements of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform.

He reassured farmers from all over the UK that a way will be found to appropriately recognise efforts made under agri-environmental schemes while not removing incentives to do more.

He went on to recognise the concerns of the Welsh farming industry about the transition from historically based payments to area based payments.
These are key issues for Wales and his comments prove that our discussions in Brussels and beyond have led to consideration and deliberation of the position and issues concerning our farming industry.

I will continue to work closely with other Ministers throughout the UK to form a voice that is strong and united, and I have also met with Welsh MEPs and key players in the European Parliament.

I intend to continue speaking up for Wales and to making sure the important issues facing Welsh farming today are clearly and properly represented.  This, in turn will no doubt lead in the future to agreements producing the best possible outcome for Wales.



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Alun Davies AM

Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and European Programmes



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