Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-284"

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"Mr President, before going into the details of the report, I would like to thank Mr Tabajdi and the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for this report. It is a good moment to take stock of the situation. You could say that it is a good warming-up for our discussion on the health check of the common agricultural policy. I fully agree with the author of this report that the integration of the ten new Member States has been a win-win situation. I would like to point out three different issues. Firstly, the positive development of the income of the agricultural sector in the new Member States. I think this has been of major importance because a good income provides not only for a decent life, but also for the long-term survival of the agricultural sector. If we look at the figures for the income in the ten new Member States it has actually increased 60% over the period from 2004 to 2006 compared to the 2003 figures. If you look at the same period for the figures in the old Member States, the EU-15, it has decreased by 2%. I think that this shows clearly how the new Member States have been benefiting from their membership of the common agricultural policy. The distribution of the money hopefully meant that understanding in the rural areas of the importance of membership has become very clear. As regards trade, an issue which was also raised by the rapporteur, it is clear that everybody has benefited from the increased internal market. Again it is a win-win situation and I hope that the trends that we have seen will also continue in the years to come. On rural development, which is a very important issue not only in the new Member States but in the European Union as a whole, I think that the difficulties that you have mentioned in your report are related to initial teething problems. The recent figures illustrate it. All rural development payments in 2006 to the new Member States came to just over EUR 2.7 billion, an increase of 21% compared to the 2005 figures. I hope that these monies will be spent in a constructive way in the new Member States and I am optimistic about the new Member States’ ability to fully implement the programme for a new financial period from 2007 to 2013. This brings me to the health check. Formally speaking, the implementation of the CAP reform by the new Member States is not subject to the revision clause. However, I think that we should take the opportunity in this health check to try to solve as many as possible of the common problems encountered by all 27 Member States in our discussions in 2008. I am looking forward to very constructive cooperation with the Agriculture Committee on all these issues. It is of great mutual interest to all of us to have a very strong agricultural sector within the European Union."@en1

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