Welsh Conservatives in the European Parliament
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP

The future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 21.10.10

With cuts and austerity measures impacting all Member States, the debate over CAP reform in the European Parliament has become more intense. CAP is facing enormous budgetary pressure and competition from the European Union’s other priorities. The economic crisis has put excessive strain on an already overloaded budget. Moreover, the extent of the crisis has meant that the EU has been forced to put the economy at the heart of its priorities, evident in the EU's 2020 Strategy.

Since the enforcement of the Lisbon Treaty, the post-2013 CAP debate has been subject to co-decision giving the European Parliament's Agricultural Committee a bigger role to play. CAP’s original function in the 1960s was to ensure that there was sufficient provision of food in the EU; however this has dramatically changed with the competing priorities facing the EU. When thinking of the future of CAP, any reform should take into account the new and often conflicting challenges that the agricultural industry is facing following the economic crisis. It is facing completely new issues which had not been a factor during the last discussions of CAP reform. As well as continuing to look at economic regeneration, it needs to take into account factors such as energy security, climate change, and migration control.

The United Nations has set a global target to product 50% more food by 2030 in order to ensure that we can continue to ‘feed the world’. The global population has also been predicted to grow to 9 billion by 2050, further highlighting the need to ensure food security and stability. The image of drying rivers and streams is becoming more common making the issue of water security even more important. Food prices are expected to increase dramatically by 20% by 2050 making food security a huge issue. For the European Union to be able to effectively contribute to this, we need to be aware of the impact that climate change has on crop production and this needs to be reflected in CAP.

Another issue that also needs to be addressed is the new generation of farmers and how to encourage them to embark on a career in this industry. At present, in Europe, a mere 7% of farmers are under the age of 35. A staggering 4 million are older than 65 and are expected to retire by 2020. Where will this leave the EU’s food security? We need to stop giving farmers a reason from leaving this profession. CAP has to reassure them, give them a sense of stability and predictability. This is even more important with the current volatility in the agricultural markets since the industry has also been forced to tighten its belt.

A future CAP needs to be simple and easy to understand. The process of applying for subsidies has proven to be a mighty challenge. The slightest mistake often results in a disproportionate penalty. A large number of errors are innocently committed due to the opacity of submitting the forms. It is vital that CAP is simplified and its implementation is made more transparent so that everybody can understand the process.

Public perception of CAP needs to change. We need to ensure that we continue to get the right message across to the public concerning the costs of agriculture. Agriculture costs approximately €50bn, which is roughly €100 per person per annum, i.e. 27 cents a day; therefore they are getting good value for money. This 27 cents supports food security, animal welfare, regional development, rural communities and exportation of EU standards globally. Farmers no longer want to be dependent on EU subsidies but often have little choice if they want to meet public expectations. They are expected to maintain particular standards of animal welfare, habitat management, environmental management, food hygiene, food prices and food security; all of which cost time and money. Farmers have to continually invest in the maintenance of these standards and so CAP acts as a means to compensate farmers. However, CAP itself has become too complex, bureaucratic and time consuming. For the EU agricultural industry to be truly globally competitive, it is imperative that CAP is reformed.

The European Commission's communiqué on the future of CAP is due on the 17th November; with a view to have initial legislative proposals in July 2011. The reforms need to ensure that CAP is more market orientated and competitive. The Commission has put the establishment and maintenance of sustainable agricultural practices across the EU as its fundamental aim. Encouragingly, they too want to facilitate investment and foster innovation in this sector which clearly has the potential to lift certain regions out of financial difficulty.

With an increasingly volatile market, an increase in food demand and the impact of climate change, food security can no longer be taken for granted. When thinking of CAP reform a more sensible approach needs to be taken so that EU efforts can focus on sustainable and inclusive growth. Fundamental to this is that the reforms support our farmers by offering them stability instead of further burdening them with more and more regulation. Competition needs to be encouraged and cultured in this industry allowing them to be more self-sufficient. Agriculture is not merely a means of producing food; it is also a sector which directly and indirectly employs hundreds of people, and positively contributes to the economy.



Join Our Mailing List Get in Touch
Welsh Conservatives

The European Commission has today designated European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status to the well-known Pembrokeshire Early Potato from West Wales.
The Pembrokeshire Early Potato was one of only three quality farm products whose applications for PGI status were approved today.
The EU PGI schemes protect product names against misuse and under these schemes more than 1200 products are already protected.
Commenting on this announcement from the European Commission today Dr Kay Swinburne MEP – who is from West Wales - said:
"I am delighted to see that this application to have "Pembrokeshire Earlies" added to the register of PGI products has been approved by the European Commission today."

"Achieving this prestigious status is a clear acknowledgment of the high-quality and distinctive produce we continue to deliver in Wales. Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes thoroughly deserve their place alongside the well-known food and drink products from right across the EU which already feature on the PGI register."


Kay was delighted to host an event to celebrate Higher Education, Science and Innovation in Wales last night in the European Parliament.  The event builds on the British Council’s “Strategic Analysis of the Welsh Higher Education Sector, Distinctive Assets”.  A number of experts spoke to share their views of Welsh HE at the event and how it can develop in the future.

In advance of the 'Fox-Hafner Report' vote on the single seat for the European Parliament, Kay and the other UK Conservative MEPs feel it is right to draw attention to the fact that the seven-year cost of the dual-seat arrangement comes to £928,000,000. Since her election to the European Parliament in 2009, Kay has strongly supported bringing the monthly Parliamentary meetings in Strasbourg to an end and therefore saving taxpayers a considerable sum of money.


Kay was delighted to meet Malala Yousafzai, who was awarded the EU's Sakharov Human Rights Prize at the European Parliament today.

Following Malala’s speech to the European Parliament, Kay said, “What an inspirational speech Malala gave to the Members of the European Parliament today. As a mother of young children myself, I hope that they can also aspire to achieve like her. Malala is an exceptional young lady who has overcome adversity by tremendous force of character and a passionate belief in the right of everybody to enjoy and benefit from education.”   


Kay was very pleased to meet with members of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Group at the European Parliament in Brussels, one of four groups set up in key Welsh research strengths to engage with EU research funds. The delegation visiting Brussels included representatives from Cardiff University, Bangor University, Swansea University and Trinity St.Davids University.

In advance of tomorrow's European Council meeting of leaders, Dr Swinburne has echoed the recommendations made in a recent report published by a number of business leaders, which highlights the importance of removing barriers to business competitiveness in Europe and getting rid of burdensome legislation by cutting EU red tape.

Last year Dr Swinburne encouraged businesses in Wales to highlight to the European Commission which over-burdensome regulations they would like to see slashed, by writing to small businesses all over Wales and asking them to tell her their red-tape problems.

Electronic cigarettes no longer face being taken off the shelves by the EU after Conservative MEPs were successful today in amending EU legislation on tobacco labelling.

Conservative MEP's led the amendment to defeat proposals that would have classified e-cigarettes as medicinal products, meaning they would have to undergo an overly burdensome and costly authorisation procedure, which would go beyond the procedures for traditional tobacco products... (Read more under 'Articles')



Welsh Conservative MEP Kay Swinburne has been sitting down with leaders in Europe's biotech field to choose the top five candidates to compete in this year's EuropaBio Most Innovative EU Biotech SME Award.

As a member of this year's judging committee, Kay is once again supporting the EuropaBio award, which has attracted applications from all three sectors of biotechnology - healthcare, industrial and agricultural, from across the EU... (Read more under 'Articles')


WELSH Conservative MEP Dr Kay Swinburne today hailed a vote in the European Parliament as a "wake-up call" in the battle to save Europe's endangered languages.

MEPs meeting in Strasbourg backed a report which calls on governments across the EU to develop action plans to encourage continued linguistic diversity.

The report, written by Corsican MEP François Alfonsi, also says governments should be "more attentive" to threats which may lead to languages becoming extinct.

Dr Swinburne, who was a shadow rapporteur for the report, has argued that Welsh can be seen as a positive example of language revitalisation which communities across the EU should follow... (Read more under 'Articles')

Contact Us
Dr Kay Swinburne MEP
Rhumney House
Copse Walk
Cardiff Gate Business Park
CF23 8RB

Tel: 029 2054 0895

National Political Party: Conservative Party
European Group: European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR)

European Conservative and Conformist Group
© Copyright Kay Swinburne 2013 | All rights reserved. | Photographs of the Parliament supplied by Adam Issacs.

Website design in Cardiff by Designer Websites Ltd