Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Lord Rooker, Minister of State for Sustainable Farming and Food, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

  Sub-Committee D (Environment and Agriculture) has considered the proposed Council Regulation on this subject (10014/06), together with your Explanatory Memorandum.

  The increased flexibility which voluntary modulation will provide is to be welcomed. We are concerned however at the conditions which are being attached to this measure, which was agreed by the European Council last December. In particular, the requirement to maintain the internal rigidities which would preserve minimum funding for Axes 1 and 3 appears to fly in the face of the Council's agreement that additional funds resulting from voluntary modulation shall not be subject to the minimum-spending-per-axes rules which are applied to the rural development budget as a whole. We consider that this condition should be firmly challenged by the Government, together with the requirement that there should be one national modulation rate, which appears to us to be at variance with existing practice. We hope therefore that the Government will adopt a robust stance on these two issues at least.

  We wish to keep this matter under review and ask that you keep us informed of progress.

20 July 2006

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