Running a farm business will become a simpler operation in 2015 if EU farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, proves true to his word when being elected to office in September this year.
Commissioner Hogan promptly named “simplification” as the “first priority” of his work programme for 2015, promising to cut red tape wherever possible for farm businesses across Europe.
He then enlarged on his promise during his first address to the European Parliament’s agriculture and rural development committee, stating that red tape imposes direct costs on farmers and operators, and can interfere with their business decisions.
“Simpler rules will make for greater competitiveness and will enhance the job-creating potential of agriculture, of rural areas and of agricultural trade,” he said, adding that his aim was to deliver on his simplification promise within a year of taking office.
“We need to simplify our rules now and cut red tape in an effective way. We should be pragmatic and flexible in our approach. Simplification does not come as a big bang’ and will not be achieved at a given point in time. It should rather consist of a constant flow of smaller and larger actions aimed at making the lives of farmers and other operators easier. We should implement these actions wherever it is possible and as soon as it is possible, to avoid losing precious time for our agricultural sector to become more competitive and more profitable.”
In outlining his 2015 programme for cutting red tape, Mr Hogan said he would work closely with farmers, other beneficiaries and stakeholders; taking their suggestions for simplification on board. He also said, however, that he wished to avoid “changing the rules too often”.
“If we all work together, farmers, member state authorities, MEPs and the commissioner, we can deliver on this priority,” he said.
In response to Mr Hogan’s pronouncements, farming leaders across Europe have made it clear that they are willing to be fully involved in the process but that they will be watching and waiting for concrete results to be delivered as 2015 unfolds.