MEPs: The state and farmers should cooperate better

A delegation from Brussels also proposed an independent arbiter to be set up.

Agriculture Minister Gabriela MatečnáAgriculture Minister Gabriela Matečná (Source: SITA)

All parties involved in agriculture should cooperate more, according to MEPs from the European Parliament’s committee on budgetary control, who have recently arrived in Slovakia.

Th EP’s delegation visited Slovakia between December 17 and 19 to check the agricultural subsidies paid to the companies which have no business linked to agriculture. The issue was predominantly voiced by farmers in eastern Slovakia, the TASR newswire reported.

“The meeting was exceptionally constructive,” said Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matečná (SNS), as quoted by TASR, adding that the MEPs said that subsidies were simply handed out.

PM Peter Pellegrini (Smer) claimed that MEPs learned the distribution of subsidies is beyond transparent, TASR wrote.

Independent arbiter

Derek Vaughan, who led the delegation, said that the government should cooperate with farmers to resolve their problems, adding that farmers should cooperate better with one another, as reported by TASR.

The delegation suggested an independent arbiter, who would settle land cases and agricultural subsidies, to be established.

They also proposed several solutions to fix the agricultural subsidies allocated in Slovakia, especially when it comes to several subjects applying for financial support for the same land property at once. As a result, smaller farmers do not receive any subsidies.

“You need to have a mandatory register of land ownership,” added Vaughan, as quoted by TASR.

However, Matečná argued that Slovakia already has such a register.

“I think they meant a register of users,” she said, as quoted by TASR, adding that she is not against such an idea.

MEPs also underlined it is necessary to make clearer conditions for who can demand agricultural subsidies.

Farmers, NGOs, journalists, a paying agency, or the agriculture minister.

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