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Scottish Councillor chairs European Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries

Scottish Councillor chairs European Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries, and will push for simplification of CAP and funding to Rural and Fishing communities.


Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development on the simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) & Anthony Gerard Buchanan (Councillor East Renfrewshire Council, United Kingdom/EA)

Cllr Tony Buchanan East Renfrewshire Council, Scotland is the current chair of the Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) of the EU Committee of the Regions, a body that brings together councillors and members of devolved parliaments from across the EU to work together on EU Agriculture Rural, Fisheries issues.

Heading to chair the meeting of NAT on Tuesday, and in the wake of the recent security issues, he said:

“I am proud to be a Scottish local authority President of this very important Agriculture & Fisheries Committee in the EU Committee of the Regions. Obviously the recent events in Paris and Brussels are not far from our minds but myself and my fellow colleagues from the rest of the EU are determined that fear does prevent us from doing our job, that of finding common solutions to support our rural and coastal communities. “

As chair of the NAT commission Cllr Buchanan said: ” I will seek to build compromises and alliances across national, regional and local boundaries, which is what CoR stands for and influence the EU decision making process in this regard”

Cllr Buchanan also a member of COSLA, recently won approval for his opinion on the “simplification of the Common Agriculture Policy” which had been requested by Irish EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan. And said that every effort must be made to reduce red tape for farmers and rural communities.

“What is fundamentally important”, Cllr Buchanan highlighted, “is a simpler CAP which will more effectively allow sustainable job creation in rural areas and facilitate and support more young farmers who are the future of the industry.”

The ambitious package for CAP reform was recently welcomed by Commissioner Hogan. At a discussion with Cllr Buchanan he said “I would like to thank Cllr Buchanan, for taking the initiative to draft up a comprehensive submission. It is a valuable contribution to the simplification agenda. Many of your suggestions would require amendments to the Basic Acts. These suggestions are very valuable and I will certainly take them into consideration for the future discussion on the CAP post 2020.”

Cllr Buchanan also added: “We need to have an audit revolution. Time is right for moving towards a Single “one and done approach” to audit and inspections. Rules need to change as to focus more on learning and less on penalties that add as a disincentive to prospective farmers or other rural beneficiaries to get involved in the CAP”

In his new position as chair of the NAT Commission Cllr Buchanan vowed to ensure that these proposals are now followed upon:

“I am delighted to be the current chair of such an important commission. The economic recovery in Europe must also include the rural areas and there is so much potential for development in agriculture, fisheries and across our rural communities and I believe that the EU needs to prioritise actions to harness this potential”

He concluded:

“I want to ensure we capitalize on tremendous potential of the Scottish food and drink sector and the huge importance of the Common Agricultural Policy and the EU Marine Policy in our rural and coastal communities.”

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